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The Tony’s and Sound Design

June 17, 2014

One really great thing about the time we currently live in is how technology is always growing and expanding. Sound Design has only become an aspect of theatre about 45 years ago (the only newer technical aspect being projection and multimedia), and in that short time it’s become quite essential in our productions (there have even been shows that the sound was one of my favorite parts of the production). Yet despite becoming such an integral part of our world, sound still tends to be the area of theatre that gets the short end of the stick. Most theatre schools that have technical theatre concentrations don’t have one for sound design (in fact, there’s rarely more than one class offered for it if that). The Tony Awards nomination committee has 50 theatre artists from all aspects except sound designers. It even took 40 years for the Tony’s to recognize the field, only giving sound design a category in 2008. Which makes the choice of taking away that aspect even more appalling.

Like any of major theatrical element, sound design takes that same amount of work and creativity that goes into any production. Especially in musicals where there’s music and more microphones, it’s rather strange that they don’t want to acknowledge the aspect of theatre that helps allow people to be heard on stage. Thankfully though, most people aren’t happy with this decision and as many of you reading this is probably aware of, there’s been quite a bit of social media backlash on this choice. #tonycanyouhearme has been trending, often with images of people holding up papers saying they support sound designers. Also on Facebook, there’s a group called “Reinstate the Tony Sound Design Categories Now!” that has over 3,000 members (including myself). And my personal favorite, this video:

There are 24 people on the Tony Awards committee. It’s really amazing that out of all those people who taking out sound design was even a consideration, yet alone voted on. I hope that the committee really listens to the artists and brings back the category, as it took them long enough to get their own category in the first place.

sarah sig

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