Tobias Andersen, our amazing life-time achievement award-winner, was kind enough to provide us with this bio of himself.
“Tobias’ professional career began in 1965 in the Colorado Rockies where he was “discovered” (while playing dastardly villains and true-hearted heroes in one of the many area melodrama theaters) by Randy Sparks of the famed New Christy Minstrels. Sparks reasoned that “mellers” (i.e. melodramas) would be a perfect fit on the stage of Ledbetter’s, his Westwood night club. He brought Tobias to California to both act in and direct “mellers,” sharing the stage with folk-singing acts.
The 1970s marked the “Mad Men” stage of Tobias’ career, as he became one of the most familiar faces on television, performing in dozens of national commercials, including the recurring character of “Good Old Charlie” for Diehard Batteries. He was also a featured player on many classic TV shows of the decade, including Roseanne, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, The Incredible Hulk, Newhart, and Knot’s Landing. He appeared in Eccentricities of a Nightingale with Blythe Danner, Destroyer with Anthony Perkins, and as a reluctant priest in The Empty Cup, which was filmed in the Bolivian Andes among the Aymara Indians. On stage, he originated the role of “Captain Beatty” in the first production of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
During these years, he also began to work in regional theater with seasons at ACT in Seattle, Milwaukee Repertory, Playmaker’s Repertory of Chapel Hill, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, VITA (Valley Institute of Theater Arts), California Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Arriving in Portland in the early ‘nineties, he essentially began a third career appearing on most local stages. Notable roles have included Henry Stamper in Sometimes a Great Notion, Nels Gudmundson in Snow Falling on Cedars (Portland Center Stage), Ulysses S. Grant in A Few Stout Individuals, Charlie in Seascape (Profile Theatre), and Salter in the American premiere of A Number (Imago). Other notable Portland appearances include Richard Harkin in The Seafarer, Alexander in Vanya, George Pye in Humble Boy (Artists Rep), Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, Prospero in The Tempest (Clackamas Rep), Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (Northwest Children’s Theatre), C. S. Lewis in Shadowlands (Portland Repertory Theatre), Colonel King in Lear’s Follies (Portland Shakespeare Project), Gunner in The Outgoing Tide (CoHo) and Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond.
In 1995 Tobias founded the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre Company, and produced twelve seasons of the American Classics Theatre Festival, including revivals of Inherit The Wind, You Can’t Take It With You, Born Yesterday, Bus Stop, Huckleberry Finn, A Thurber Carnival, Our Town, Sea Marks, Luv, and The Front Page, as well as “Sunday Night by the Philco,” classic radio. In 2001, Mt. Hood Rep partnered with the Multnomah County Library Association and their Everybody Reads program to produce Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for student audiences.
Tobias has been a frequent performer with the Oregon Symphony, appearing in their acclaimed “Nerve Endings” concerts where he took on the roles of Josef Stalin in Musical Expressions of Political Outrage, Sigmund Freud in Sigmund Freud and the Dreams of Gustav Mahler, Beethoven in Anatomy of the Fifth, and on PBS as the Lecturer in the Oregon Symphony’s broadcast of Verdi’s “Defiant” Requiem. With the Portland Chamber Orchestra he has been narrator of Carnival of the Animals and directed the Lincoln Center adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the entire Mendelsohn score.
His critically acclaimed portrayal of famed American jurist Clarence Darrow in the one-man play Darrow has been seen throughout the US and in 1997 was selected by the US Information Agency (USIA) to represent the United States at the Second International Drama Festival in Pakistan, where the play was performed in Islamabad before members of the Pakistani Government and Supreme Court.
The Illustrated Bradbury, his solo play of Ray Bradbury stories, coauthored with the eminent author himself, has been recently published.”
Thank you, Tobias!
And now the next half-century begins! At the time of writing, Tobias is about to appear in Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play at Portland Playhouse, which runs from May 13 to June 7, 2015 (too late for inclusion in this year’s Drammy eligible shows, but among the first to be considered NEXT year). And there are other great roles to come…in 2016, he will take on the role of King Lear for Post5 Theatre. We can’t wait!
Here are some photos of Tobias we have collected. We would like to acknowledge the photographers where possible. Please let us know if you can help. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you)