Toby Blackwell is a singer, actor, writer and comedian. His most recent efforts have been on-camera and on-line. He is the official “SURVIVOR:ONE WORLD” recapper for Buff Headwear Co., the company that makes the signature Buffs worn on every season of the hit show. His weekly written recaps and supplemental video blogs helped Buff Headwear to dramatically increase sales of their products, with some selling out completely. Toby also recently launched a second season his “OBSESSED” online series, in which he discusses the things in entertainment and pop culture that he is infatuated with. He has been training to be an on-camera host, and is embarking upon a job search in this field. These endeavors all contributed to his being named 2012’s B.U.P.E. (Busiest Unemployed Person Ever), a title he won in a landslide, mostly because he made it up.
Toby is also engaged in a rich musical theater career. He was recently seen in RENT: THE BROADWAY TOUR, alongside original cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, as the Collins/Benny understudy and a male swing. Other theatrical highlights include his three regional theater performances as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in RAGTIME, for which he garnered accolades at Broadway Palm West in Mesa, AZ; Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona, FL; and The Springer Opera House in Columbus, GA. Other regional theater roles include The Geek in SIDESHOW, Lamar in GODSPELL¸ Ken in SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, Ben Weatherstaff in THE SECRET GARDEN, The Padre in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Nomax and Four-Eyed Moe in two separate productions of FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE, and Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in ANYTHING GOES, for which he received Sacramento’s Elly Award as Best Supporting Actor. Toby has also had the pleasure of working for the Walt Disney Company as a performer in three of their theme parks worldwide, most notably originating the role of Scar in the newest incarnation of “The Festival of the Lion King” at the brand-new Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005. Most recently, in New York City, Toby originated the role of “Benfiki” in BORN BLUE, directed by Anthony Rapp, as well as the title role in OBAMA IN NAPLES, winning rave reviews in both U.S. and Italian press for his portrayal of the beleaguered president.
Toby’s recent blogging, vlogging and on-camera work is a direct extension of his experience as an accomplished cabaret entertainer. He has performed five full-length cabaret shows at venues in New York City, as well as performing sets and full length shows throughout the United States and Asia. He blends stand-up comedy, original song parodies, and stories from his rich life experiences with music from contemporary musical theater and pop, and has gained an audience of fans around the world. At the Duplex Cabaret Theatre in New York City’s Greenwich Village, he won rave reviews for his shows “Home,” “One Moment, Please,” “Bitter,” and “Bitter-er: Hobbits, Divas and Slaves.” He continued the “Bitter” series at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in Manhattan with 2008’s “Bitter and Be Gay” and its 2010 return engagement. This fall he will present “LORDY, LORDY, LOOK WHO’S BITTER: Forty Years of Foolishness” at the Beechman as part of his year-long “Beige Don’t Age” birthday celebration.
Toby performs his comedy in many other ways, as well. Toby has worked with some notable sketch and improv comedy groups. As a member of 8 Bar Cut, The Musical Improv Group, Toby and the cast would make up an complete musicals instantly based on audience suggestions. Back in the day, Toby joined the Capitol Steps political satire troupe for the 2000 election season and toured the country playing such roles as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Regis Philbin, Dick Cheney, and Janet Reno. (Yes, typecasting happens.) He also delivered each night’s show-stopping “Spoonerism” monologues. (“You can’t stake this muff up!”) In 2008, Toby was hired to work with The Watercoolers, a corporate themed-sketch comedy group. Toby also works as a popular event host — as a regular substitute for the MAC-nominated musical theater open mike night “Mostly Sondheim,” as the co-host of the inaugural Duplex Academy Awards telecast and pre-show event, as an on-site commentator for the telecast of New York City’s annual Gay Pride Parade, as the weekly host of Wreck Room and Post Office at Greenwich Villages legendary Pieces Bar, and in similar events in New York, Orlando, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Toby graduated with honors from Harvard University, with a degree in East Asian Studies. At Harvard, he performed with the Harvard-Radcliffe Opportunes, the college’s eldest co-ed a cappella group. He did music arrangements and choreography for the group and is featured on two of their albums, Only Knock Once and Plugged. Toby also served as a Supply Officer in the U. S. Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. He earned numerous awards while serving for 4 years aboard the USS SHASTA (AE-33).
Toby is the son of Ted and Mila Blackwell, residents of Austin, TX. Mrs. Blackwell, especially, is the frequent subject of anecdotes in Toby’s shows, and she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Ted Blackwell is a songwriter who, like Toby, often comments on current topics through his music. Toby resides in New York City, where he does volunteer work preparing taxes for fellow actors at VITA, and also performs with VocalEase, an organization that performs free cabaret shows at hospitals and nursing homes.
Toby is represented for theater, film, and television by Blue Ridge Entertainment (646-638-1745).