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Ramin Karimloo is in his element at the Columbus Circle Equinox as much as he is on the Imperial Theatre stage in Les Misérables. Strolling into the gym in gray bike shorts and a matching tank, he moves with confidence but never cockiness — a kind of combined authority and humility that lends itself well to playing the heroic Jean Valjean eight times a week.
It's a few hours before a matinee show on a recent Sunday, and Karimloo is offering me a glimpse into the work that goes into creating his brawny take on the character, an impassioned performance that earned him both a 2014 Tony nomination and a reputation as one of the most virile leading men on Broadway.
"Going to the gym is like a vocal warm-up — it gets my voice in gear," he says, tossing me a towel. "If you have a tired body, you'll have a tired voice."
"Should I bring the towel along?" I wonder aloud.
Karimloo grins, a twinkle in his eye. "Yeah," he confirms. Apparently I'll need it.
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