The Making of A Twisted Carol: Seeing the Unseen

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

A Year Full of Firsts!

It’s been a month full of firsts! First time stepping into the office, first time meeting everyone, first time taking a ticket order and first time introducing myself to everyone-including you! So who is this mystery writer who has taken over In Tandem Talks for today? Well, I’m pleased to introduce myself. My name is Ann Ricca and I am In Tandem Theatre’s new Marketing Manager!

My favorite first of all? Our first show of the season-Any Given Monday by Bruce Graham which starts October 2nd and runs until the 25th! It’s been a thrill to watch (and hear) this play evolve from read-through to seeing it come to life onstage. The cast is phenomenal, the directing impeccable and the set looks like you’ve just walked into someone’s house. I am very excited to have this show be the first play I am marketing for In Tandem…it’s edgy, comedic and the storytelling is extraordinary!

The whole season is full of stories that will inspire, enlighten, provoke and entertain. In Tandem’s brand new musical holiday spoof, A Twisted Carol (December 4th-January 3rd,) has already had its first read-through (who says the holidays shouldn’t start a little early?). We’re already in the midst of brainstorming all sorts of ideas for our last two shows, Lamps for My Family (February 19th-March 13th) and Ernest in Love (April 22nd -May 15th) and I cannot wait to share these stories with you!

As we kick off the 18th season of In Tandem Theatre this week, I hope you can join me through my year of firsts and through many more!

Happy New Year!?

Happy New Year!

I realize I’m a little late, but that’s no reason not to celebrate, right?

Wait, what? A little late! And Mount Everest is a speed bump! Well, you see, we here at In Tandem don’t run things on a calendar year, because our season goes from October to May. So our fiscal year ends on June 30th and starts up again on July 1st, which is a great excuse to have some champagne on a summer night! Besides, I’m always working on the real New Year’s Eve, dragging my sorry butt home around 4am, having not indulged in any winter revelry. So now is my time for reflecting on the crazy year that has passed, and the spectacular year that is unfolding.

Last year I had the opportunity to do something I’ve never done before, and I don’t mean standing up in a hammock juggling torches! I spent two months away from In Tandem in Delaware, doing a show with my alma mater, the Professional Theatre Training Program, which used to be in Milwaukee. So for the first time ever, an entire show at In Tandem went on without me. Jane took over directing the show, which was a World Premier of Come Back by local playwright Neil Haven, as well as producing it and running the office. I Skyped in for several hours each day to help with office work, but otherwise it was her baby. And she did a brilliant job. It was a rewarding time for me out in Delaware, but I was very glad to get back home.

The very day I flew back we were shooting photos for our upcoming season brochure. And what a season we have in store for you! Funny? Yeah. Touching? Sure. Ambitious? Our biggest ever! Did I mention we’re throwing in a World Premier of an original holiday musical, A Twisted Carol, and we’re collaborating with Milwaukee Opera Theatre for our spring show, Ernest in Love, which we are going to tour? Is your head spinning? Mine is, but I’m also giddy with anticipation for what I think will be our best season ever.

Stay tuned for more about each show as the season wears on, and tip a glass of bubbly on a warm summer night.



Summer Success!

In Tandem’s inaugural Summer Theatre Conservatory is a wrap – and a huge success!

The students had fun, learned a ton about the theatre business, got to work in a professional venue and put on four fantastic performances of Into the Woods, JR. Three of them were open to the public and very well attended by family, friends and In Tandem patrons. Their “preview” performance played to a packed house of 99 kids and chaperones from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, who absolutely loved the show! Through grants and other support, we were able to bring the kids over for the show at no charge to them or the Boys & Girls Club. There was a lively talk back afterwards with the cast, which In Tandem’s Artistic Director, Chris Flieller, facilitated. The kids got to ask questions of the cast, who enjoyed talking about their experience with us over the past three weeks.

On we go to our 2015-16 season, but we look forward to next summer’s program!

Scenes from “Into the Woods, JR”

ITW-show9  ITW-show6ITW-show10ITW-show2

Into the Woods JR Kids’ Blog!

Hey everybody, this is Annika, Briana and Sophia. We are here to tell you about our production of Into the Woods Jr. directed by Dr. Shannon Sloan-Spice, and musically directed by Annie Denison. We are part of a summer theatre education program that is held at In Tandem Theatre from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Middle school and early high school kids participate in this three week experience.

We have many classes where we learn about the full theatre experience from acting to lighting to advertising, in which we learn about all the behind the scenes work as well as acting and singing. In addition to working with Shannon and Annie, so far we have had classes with In Tandem’s Production Manager, Colin Gawronski (lighting and set), In Tandem’s Managing Director, Jane Flieller (marketing and advertisement), and Laura Hughes (costumes).

In conclusion, this program has been a great learning experience and has helped us grow as actors/actresses. We are very grateful for this opportunity given to us and would like to thank everyone who made it possible. To give back to our community, we are providing a free show to 99 kids from The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.

We have three public performances coming up – for more information and to purchase tickets for the show just CLICK HERE! We really hope to see you there!

PS: Did you know there’s a cow in the show? Thank you Skylight Music Theatre for letting us borrow her!


In Tandem’s Summer Theatre Conservatory

BRAVO to everyone who helped us meet our American Family Insurance Foundation challenge grant goal for the Summer Conservatory! Thank you for your generosity!

In Tandem Theatre will host a three-week summer theatre immersion program for AGES 11-18 in which up to 50 students will participate.

Days begin with morning acting, voice, and movement classes. Through a hands-on approach, all students will participate in activities such as set-building, props, costumes, lights and sound design.

Additionally, all students will acquire administrative skill in marketing, publicity, and house management and box office. Opportunities for young visual artists to exhibit and curate their art in the theatre gallery are also available.

Directed by Shannon Sloan-Spice, Ph.D. with musical direction by Annie Denison, the program will culminate in live performances of Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical, INTO THE WOODS, JR.

Founded on trust, integrity, inclusion and imagination, this unique, blended humanities approach to arts education will provide a deepened experience of the full artistic process

Tenth Street Theatre | 628 N. 10th Street | Milwaukee
Located right next the the Marquette University campus, Tenth Street Theatre resides in the lower level of the historic big red church. A safe and unique urban environment for all.

July 13 – August 2, 2015
Monday – Friday | 9:00 am – 5:00 pmIn Tandem Space 2015-27
Public performances of Into the Woods, JR:
Friday, July 31 | Saturday, August 1 | Sunday, August 2

$500 per student. Registration is due by June 1, 2015 and secured with non-refundable 20% deposit. Balance due on July 13, 2015. A limited number of scholarships may be available; please call 414-271-1371 for details and more information. The cost of tuition includes two free tickets to Into the Woods, JR. Complimentary tickets will be available to children served by the Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee.


This program is sponsored in part by the generous support of American Family Insurance Foundation and the Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust.

Telling Stories

We’re in the midst of our final show of the season, Little by Little, a full-out musical where all the communication between the performers and the audience is done with music. Which is where I live. As long as I can remember, I’ve been a musician.

When I was in the fifth grade, the junior high band instructor spoke with our class about learning to play a band instrument. Afterward, my friend Kathy pulled me aside and said excitedly, “Let’s take trumpet lessons!” I said, “But only boys play the trumpet.” (Yes…this was a long time ago.) Her response? “Exactly! All the girls will be sitting with each other in the boring flute section. We’ll get to sit with all the boys!” Thank you, Kathy. She quit after a year, but I played trumpet all the way through college – dating, becoming good friends, and making great music with some of the smartest, most fun and interesting guys I’ve ever known.

Following the trumpet came piano, guitar and then choir. I fell in love with singing and earned my BFA in Vocal Performance from Silver Lake College. Since moving to Milwaukee, I’ve performed with Music Under the Stars (now I’m REALLY dating myself!), Milwaukee Symphony, Bel Canto, Florentine Opera and others.

When I met Chris and Jane eight years ago, I knew very little about the theater, with the exception of singing in musicals. They’ve since opened my eyes to another world, where there exists a different kind of communication between performers and the audience than the one most familiar to me. But whether a singer or player uses music or an actor uses words, we all have the same goal: to tell a story or express an idea or emotion in a way that moves the listener or viewer to feel or think something that they may not have experienced before.

We enlighten, inspire, provoke and entertain.

-Cindy Thomas

Up Next: Little by Little

In Tandem is excited to present the delightful, contemporary musical, Little by Little, from May 1-24.

Fast-paced, witty and comical, Little by Little follows three best friends through adolescence, dating, college and careers. Along the way, a love triangle develops, threatening to break up the friendship. Can the trio find reconciliation or will they go their separate ways? You’ll just have to see it to find out!

One of the talented cast of three singers is Rachael Zientek, a UW-Milwaukee grad with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Rachael was cast in First Stage productions and attended Greendale High School before going on to UWM to study musical theatre. Her sister Sara, also a First Stage alum and later a Milwaukee Rep intern, recently appeared in In Tandem’s critically acclaimed production of Neil Haven’s Come Back. A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article featured the two sisters.

Read the press release for Little by Little and purchase tickets for the show.

World’s Best Intern Says Goodbye

March, 2015

Have you ever read the children’s book “Caps for Sale”? In it a hat salesman with few resources makes the best of his situation by wearing his entire stock of caps on his head, literally ‘wearing many hats’ in order to run his business.

This is what it’s like for EVERYONE at In Tandem.

Everyone answers the phone, everyone takes orders, everyone writes, everyone proofreads and everyone wears many, many caps. And I loved every minute of it.

In interning for In Tandem, I found the entirety of my training as an arts administrator called upon at one time or another. In a given day I might find myself going business to business with flyers for our next show in the morning and preparing marketing materials in the office in the afternoon. The scope of the responsibilities I was given really showed me, in a tangible way, just how much goes on behind the scenes in order to make sure that the lights are on, the seats are filled, and the audience is happy when they sit down to watch the show.

Working with Chris, Jane and Cindy has been a wonderful experience as well. All three have been respected members of the Milwaukee arts community for many years, and were always willing to share their experiences with me. Having their collective backlog of knowledge has been an invaluable part of my learning experience, and has served to further hone my knowledge of how to run a small theatre company in the practical sense. That kind of knowledge can’t be gained in the classroom.

Now that my time at In Tandem has come to a close, I feel like I can look back at my experience with satisfaction. Running at arts organization is never a one cap job and I feel lucky that I chose In Tandem to show me their balancing act.

Nate Butchart