When BWW:UK arrives at the Adelphi to meet the stars of Love Never Dies, Ramin Karimloo is nowhere to be seen. Sierra Boggess welcomes us in and suggests we start the interview without him...
Hi Sierra! Thanks for meeting us. Summer's already told me that you're all so happy to be here...
We are, it's a lovely company to be in.
She said that she sees you all the time because you're in town!
I know! We're always together, yeah. All of us principals really bonded. The whole company is bonded; it's nice.
So are you enjoying London?
Yes! I love it, I really do. It's kind of like it was a dream to live here when I was in school. In 2002 I came here to study abroad and I fell in love with London, and I thought one day I'm going to live here. One day I'm going to be in the West End. And now here I am!
When were you approached to do this part?
October 2008. That was the first workshop I was a part of. I had auditioned for Andrew a couple of weeks before that. I was still doing The Little Mermaid on Broadway at the time, and Disney was nice enough to let me out for a couple of weeks to do that. So I flew over here and did that!
The Little Mermaid must have been amazing to do.
Oh yes! Ariel was always my favourite Disney princess, and she still is, but to actually get to originate her on Broadway and be her was just so exciting. I love everything that she stands for and you can reach such a lot of people's lives being a Disney princess because for some people she means the world to them. It's crazy and amazing and inspiring that people are so passionate about a fictional story character, but I got to meet a lot of amazing people. I loved playing her.
And you played Christine in the original Phantom in Vegas, is that right?
Yes. Andrew and Hal were opening a brand new production and were opening the original company of that, and that's when I first met Andrew. That was also a dream come true because I'd always wanted to play Christine. In school, I obviously studied dance, but so I really wanted to study pointe so that I could go on pointe, because I knew one day I wanted to play Christine, so I worked really hard and I mastered it so that one day I could do it. People always ask me, give me some advice, how do you get to be where you are? It's not by accident, it's a lot of hard work. If you want to play Christine, then work on opera and dance. Do everything that you possibly can for you to get the part. When I got Little Mermaid, I knew that I had to be on Heelys, so I got a pair of Heelys before I ever auditioned, so that I could practise on them, so that when I went in the audition it wouldn't be the first time. It was interesting because when I went to the callback, there was five girls it was down to for Ariel, and not one of them had ever put on a pair of Heelys before it for me. I thought, this is interesting, because I just thought it was normal for me to do that. Why wouldn't you go out and do everything you possibly could in order to be prepared for an audition? I didn't think whoa, I've got this, but I wasn't nervous, because I practised.
Wearing Heelys on stage and must have been terrifying!
Yes! I was learning from the kids who played Flounder. They were kids, they were 10 years old, and I learnt most about Heelys from watching them, because kids have a different centre of gravity than we do and they also have less fear, they're not worried that they're going to fall over and crack their head. So I would watch them. I was an ice skater for 10 years when I was little so I know the feeling of gliding and keeping your upper body activated, though I never skated and sang at the same time! In Mermaid I had to come out and skate backwards and sing and make it look effortless!
You talked about the kids playing Flounder; in Love Never Dies you've got a whole set of sons. Is it difficult to keep the dynamic of the mother-son relationship?
It's not, actually. There are several kids cast, but there are three main Gustaves and each one has a block of four performances, so within each kid I know what their Gustave's character is. I just have to make sure I know who's playing Gustave, else I'll do something another Gustave normally does. But it's nice, because I do want to tailor the mother-son relationship to the child on stage with me.
Having played Christine before, how does your interpretation change?