The current Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” U.S. tour, Cooper Grodin has had mixed reviews since the moment he stepped on stage. Having seen the new tour twice, here are my thoughts.
Cooper Grodin has a good voice and I will not deny that the first time I heard him sing “Music of the Night” I got teary eyed. A majority of the problem was his acting and blocking. His acting was meh, to say the least. His Phantom is violent, throws Christine to the ground and in the “Final Lair” when he is putting the dress on Christine it looks almost like he is raping her. He slightly reminds me of book Phantom with the violence, just a bit more intense.
Regarding another acting problem, there was NO chemistry between Grodin and Julia Uldine (Christine). The Phantom is supposed to have chemistry with Christine, especially in the musical, and I did not feel that. Not feeling any chemistry means that I could not sympathize when the Phantom says “Christine, I love you,” at the end of the musical. Sure Cooper sings it beautifully, but the whole time his Phantom is violent and distant, so how was I supposed to sympathize and feel bad for him? The truth is, it is shocking and people might think “Really? You love her?”
For some people Grodin was their first Phantom and they absolutely love him and think he did a good job. Understandable, we cannot compare him to Ramin Karimloo or Michael Crawford. For those who love Grodin, that is great and he has a good voice. For those who have seen various Phantoms over the years, he is not the favorite, but we wish him well and that he improves over time.