Tobias Ragg

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Tobias "Toby" Ragg
Portrayed by Ken Jennings (original 1979 Broadway cast)
Neil Patrick Harris (2001 concert)
Manoel Felciano (2005 revival)
Edward Sanders (2007 film)
Information
Gender Male

Tobias "Toby" Ragg is a fictional character who appears in various adaptations of the story Sweeney Todd. He can also be found lurking around the streets of Winchester.

In the penny dreadful The String of Pearls, Tobias Ragg is in a madhouse, driven mad by Sweeney Todd, a barber who murders his customers and his Mother, a psychopath.

In the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Toby is the apprentice of Signor Adolfo Pirelli, a barber who was once an apprentice of Todd. Pirelli pretends to be Italian, and sells some fake potions for hair, made of "piss and ink". Toby is hired by Mrs. Lovett after Todd kills Pirelli. Toby becomes deeply attached to Mrs. Lovett, thinking of her as a surrogate mother; when he discovers that she and Todd have been killing customers and making them into meat pies, however, he goes insane with horror and shock. After seeing Todd kill Mrs. Lovett, a vengeful Toby emerges from the sewers where he was hiding and slashes Todd's throat with his own razor.

It is of interest to note that Tobias originally was to be played as an adult, albeit a mentally handicapped one; Ken Jennings, who originated the Broadway role, was 31 on opening night, and Neil Patrick Harris was 27. The movie is the only version of the story in which Tobias is an actual child; Ed Sanders was 14 years old in the movie.

In the 2013 novel Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Tobias is a minor character who is a young orphan wrongly imprisoned for murder and rape, he is later freed by Inspector Baxter.

Performers[edit]

  • Ken Jennings originated the role of Tobias in the original Broadway performance of Sondheim's musical in 1979.
  • Michael Staniforth played Tobias in the 1980 London Production.
  • Neil Patrick Harris played Tobias in the 2001 concert version of the musical.
  • Manoel Felciano played Tobias in the 2005 revival of the musical.
  • Edmund Bagnell played Tobias in the 2005 Revival tour.
  • Edward Sanders played Tobias in the 2007 film.
  • James McConville played Tobias in the 2012 London revival.

Songs[edit]

In the musical Tobias Ragg has no solo number, but sings many songs with other characters. The tracks were all composed by Stephen Sondheim. The tracks include:

  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Prologue)" (with Company)**
  • "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir" (with Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Company)*
  • "Tooth-Pulling Sequence" (with Pirelli)**
  • "God, That's Good" (with Mrs. Lovett, Todd and Company)*
  • "Not While I'm Around" (with Mrs. Lovett)*
  • "Parlour Songs" - "(Tower of Bray)" (with Beadle Bamfort and Mrs. Lovett)**
  • "Final Scene" (with Todd and Mrs. Lovett)*
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Epilogue)" (with Company)**

(* Edited for 2007 film)
(** Cut from 2007 film)

References[edit]