If you’ve gone to any kind of theatrical production, you’ve probably seen the actors, the set, the lights and the costumes. But one piece of the puzzle cannot be seen by the naked eye – sound.
So what really goes into creating sound for a show? We sat down with our sound designer, Jonathan Leubner, for a quick Q&A to find out his perspective on designing something that cannot be seen.
How long have you been a sound designer?
I have been creating my professional sound design since 1995. I also own and operate SurroundinSoundStudio which is a professional audio recording studio that I found and built over 30 years ago. My studio projects include creating, writing and recording music for TV shows, documentaries, films, recording radio and TV commercials. I also record and produce CD and music projects for my clients and do location audio recording.
What is it like to do sound for a musical such as A Twisted Carol?
It’s pretty fun because in a sense, creating the sound is like introducing other characters for the actors on the stage to interact with; it’s a very creative process.
How do you figure out which sound(s) to use during a scene?
Many times, the sounds that are used in each scene are specifically defined in the playwright’s script, while other times the director will request a specific sound cue that will help communicate and carry the arc of the story. There are times where good sound design does not call attention to itself, but is seamless as part of the overall story. Other times, the sound is like a poke in the ear with a sharp stick and commands attention. Both approaches are vital for good, sound theatrical storytelling.
Are there any unique sounds that you had to make (or use) for A Twisted Carol?
I have created many of the unique sounds for A Twisted Carol by combining and blending sounds from my very extensive studio music and sound effects library. In addition, I have created many custom Foley sound effects (the reproduction of everyday sound effects) from scratch to achieve some of the specific moods and effects that help enhance the story for the audience. I do not want to reveal too much, because part of the magic of live theater is experiencing it as a fully realized story by theater patrons.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I speak fluent Danish.
A Twisted Carol with book and lyrics by Mondy Carter and music by Nathan Wesselowski runs December 4, 2015 – January 3, 2016 at the Tenth Street Theatre. Purchase tickets at 414-271-1371 or online at http://www.intandemtheatre.org/events/a-twisted-carol/.