The Artist’s Sport
Hey. Acting sounds fun.
If you were one of the nearly four million viewers watching the Tony Awards this year, or among the millions who have since watched clips from the ceremony, you may have seen Eduardo Ramos ’06 snapping a photo with a yellow disposable film camera from the stage as he and his team, the cast and crew of Take Me Out, accepted the award for “Best Revival.”
Ramos has been a professional actor for over 10 years, and a model for even longer. This optimistic, self-made actor had his first brush with acting during his last semester at Ursinus. Today, he’s making his victory lap following a Tony Award-winning run of Take Me Out on Broadway, where he played a baseball player named Rodriguez (which also happens to be his mother’s family name).
Take Me Out, which premiered in 2002 at the Donmar Warehouse in London and opened this April at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York City, follows a baseball team resembling the 1990s New York Yankees, a team Ramos watched as a kid with his parents. “Being Cuban, baseball is very much a part of the culture. It’s the sport I grew up with,” he said.
Way before Ramos could dream of acting on Broadway alongside such stars as Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family fame and Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), he had different matters on his mind.
At 14, young Ramos had to decide between baseball and his new favorite springtime sport, lacrosse. “It changed my life completely,” he said. “The intensity of the sport, the speed of it … I just really fell in love with it.”
He said the game helped sharpen his focus, and in just a few more years, he would be recruited to play at the Division III level for Ursinus.
“The school had a really strong mix of things I was interested in,” he said, citing an unrivaled study abroad program, good academics, lacrosse, and a beautiful campus. Ursinus’s financial aid and scholarships also set the college apart. “As someone coming from a family who needed that financial aid to attend a private college, that really meant a lot.”
Ramos is Ursinus through and through. A life-long learner who makes friends everywhere he goes, he played lacrosse all four years, leading as team captain for two. For one of his most formative experiences, he studied abroad his junior year in Seville, Spain. “That’s really when I started immersing myself in different cultures,” he said.
On select weekends, Ramos and his peers would leave Seville to travel to Prague, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and other places around Europe. A program field trip to Portugal would eventually lead Ramos to become fluent in Portuguese, his third language after English and Spanish.
“At that point, I knew that I wanted to continue to travel,” Ramos said. “One of the things that I really enjoyed about living in Seville was immersing myself and living like a local.” Ramos’s curiosity for experiences of different people and cultures would eventually, as an actor, let him step into different characters’ shoes with ease. For now, all he knew was that he wanted to experience different lives in faraway places.
Admittedly, acting wasn’t on his radar until a friend and teammate, Mike deLaurentis ’06 asked if Ramos would join him in a new endeavor: an acting class taught by Professor of Theater Domenick Scudera. After two summers of marketing internships in New York City, Ramos had found his true love: acting.
With a new mindset, Ramos did some modeling around the world—traveling to over 25 countries in just two years—and finally decided to move back to New York and pursue acting full-time.
While booking commercials and studying, Ramos joined HOLA, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. “That kind of put me into a database of bilingual actors and helped open up my network a little bit,” he said.
His membership led to an audition for his first play in the city, Bodas de Sangre by Federico García Lorca. He starred in comedies such as Alternatino, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Inside Amy Schumer, and you may have even accosted him in the world-famous video game Red Dead Redemption 2, in which he voices a fruit vendor/bandito.
This past spring, Ramos booked his first-ever role on Broadway, playing Rodriguez in Take Me Out. The Richard Greenberg play focuses on homophobia, racism, and class in baseball, following a fictitious team called the Empires. The production ran its first previews in March, and officially opened in April before closing in June.
“I never thought I would be on Broadway at this point in my career,” Ramos said. “I thought if I were to make it to Broadway, it would be kind of in a backdoor sense, like I had built up enough TV and film credits, where then I would be able to get an invite.”
For Ramos, the gig came from a general audition through his TV and film agent.
“It’s definitely a home run,” he said.
The actor even had a chance to improv in a scene or two. “When the role requires Spanish, sometimes you end up having a little more freedom to work within the frame of the script because the director or the writer might not know exactly how to say something in another language,” he said. In one of the first scenes of the play, Ramos and Hiram Delgado, who played team member Martinez, would improvise locker room trash talk in Spanish.
“It is by far the best experience I have had in my professional life.”
In Ramos’s personal life, he enjoys surfing, seeing his grandma, and going on hikes with his five-year-old daughter. So, what’s next for the industrious actor who just stood on the Radio City Music Hall stage to accept a Tony alongside his Take Me Out team?
“I am looking forward to bringing the experience of Broadway into the audition room,” he said.
For his fans and friends alike, many are waiting to see what Ramos knocks out of the park next.