Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cooper Grodin, Phantom star and Elvis fan

We’re excited that The Phantom of the Opera is back on the Orpheum stage, and star Cooper Grodin is happy the tour brought him to Memphis – a real highlight for an Elvis fan. 

“The production actually hasn’t been here in 13 years and I have a deep affinity for Elvis – sometimes people mistake me for him and so it’s actually quite exciting to be here,” he told us recently.

Grodin planned to hit all the Memphis hotspots – especially Graceland – and recorded at Sun Studio on Monday. Sightseeing aside, he’s spent quite a bit of time playing the iconic Phantom in the spectacular 25th anniversary tour here now.

Grodin said knew he wanted to play the Phantom as soon as he saw the show on stage for the first time.

“When I was even considered for it that was profoundly exciting, because the minute I saw it I said to myself, that’s it that’s really the role you want to take on,” he told us at a recent press event, “and to take it on in such magnitude as this production is really a dream come true.”

Grodin has also starred in Shakespeare in the Park’s Into the Woods, the 25th anniversary tour of Les Miserables, the Fantasticks and a slew of other beloved shows. He also played the King himself, Elvis Presley, while performing at the Fireside Theater in Wisconsin.

There’s a very strange magical energy associated with that guy, and when you’re wearing tight blue jeans and a tight white T-shirt and an acoustic guitar and you slick your hair back and you walk on stage and someone says, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis Presley!’ You go out there and people go crazy – they just relive it, ” he said. “They totally surrender to the illusion – they just go crazy. You can hear these women just freaking out and I’m like, “I’m just a Russian Jew from New York, I’m not really Elvis.”

See Grodin as the Phantom through Oct. 5 at the Orpheum. Get your tickets here.

Watch a clip of our interview with Grodin and resident director David Ruttura above, and see Grodin as Elvis below.

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