Susan Blackwell is an American actress, writer and singer, best known for playing herself in the musical title of show. She has appeared in other plays, musicals, and television shows including Law & Order, P.S. I Love You, and Speech and Debate. She also hosts her own talk show Side by Side by Susan Blackwell on Broadway.com.
Title of show
The musical documents its own creation by two Broadway fans, who want to enter the New York Musical Theatre Festival and struggle to complete the show in three and a half weeks, and their two actress friends. The actors are also the writers and characters of the musical.
Blackwell's character, "Susan," is a quirky performer by night and corporate drone by day—what Blackwell calls a "distillation" of her true personality.
Blackwell became involved in the musical's development early on, through her longstanding friendships with the show's writer, Hunter Bell, and composer, Jeff Bowen (who also star in the show, as "Hunter" and "Jeff"). Blackwell had worked with the two men as part of her previous Off-Off-Broadway performing duo, the New Wondertwins.
At the time Bowen and Bell began work on [title of show], Blackwell had decided to abandon performing for a stable, corporate office job.
"I feel really grateful to my friends for rescuing me," she has said of her role in [title of show]. "They airlifted me out of very corporate ascension and plopped me down into this whole other experience."
Blackwell began her professional acting career with a two-year stint in the company of Minnesota's Guthrie Theatre before moving to New York in 1995.
Blackwell has since developed a reputation as a quirky downtown theatre artist. Blackwell performed Off-Off-Broadway with Rebecca Finnegan as The New Wondertwins, a variety act whose assortment of songs, sketches and daredevil feats included ventriloquism and making deviled eggs in their mouths.
One Village Voice reviewer wrote of the duo in 1999: "Their wordless finale, orchestrated to a space-age bachelor-pad soundtrack, is a tour de force of fascination and horror: never have soy milk and deviled eggs been used to such loathsome effect."
In addition to [title of show]'s Off-Broadway and Broadway runs, Blackwell's more recent credits include the Off-Broadway shows Speech and Debate, Anon, Working Title, Vilna's Got a Golem and The Heidi Chronicles (as Peter Patrone).
She is well known by many Broadway stars through her online video show Side by Side by Susan Blackwell. As part of the show, as the ending schtik, she often licks her interviewee's face. She has licked Daniel Radcliffe, Sutton Foster, Darren Criss, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Laura Benanti, Stephanie J. Block, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff among others.
- Feldman, Adam. quirky downtown theater actor, Time Out New York, 17 July 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- Murrin, Tom. Stagenotes: Five from Broadway to Way-Off Broadway, September 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- Eisgrau, Robin. Trick or treat, OFFOFFOFFtheater, 14 April 2001. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- Soloski, Alexis. SparkleFEST 2000, Village Voice, 8 June 1999. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- Playbill Biography: SUSAN BLACKWELL. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- Hernandez, Ernio. PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Susan Blackwell, Playbill, 10 October 2007. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- title of show: The Players, titleofshow.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008.