British Press Comments On Sound Tonys

British Press Comments On Sound Tonys

Brian Ronan accepts a 2014 Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Musical for 'Beautiful, A Carole King Musical." Copywright Theo Wargo, Getty Images

The Tony Awards may have tried to silence sound designers in its recent elimination of the sound design categories, but the British press is speaking up for the snubbed discipline.

The Stage writes that British sound designers believe that the removal of the sound design categories for future Tony ceremonies "undermines the role they play as part of a show’s creative team."  Additionally, UK's Association of Sound Designers has urged the Tony Awards Administration Committee to reconsider their decision.

Olivier Award-nominated sound designer, Ed Clarke, notes in The Guardian that sound design is one of the youngest creative disciplines in theatre to be recognized for its art. The Olivier Awards added sound design in 2004, and Tony Awards just 2008. He also politely points out that the Tony design awards are relegated to commercial breaks.

He defends the discipline, which some have deemed merely technical:

Great sound design can enhance atmosphere, create or change mood, add a sense of location and environment, bring pace and tempo, develop or relax tension, and is almost imperative in scenic transitions in most plays.

Clarke adds that lighting, set, and costume design can also achieve the same outcomes, and yet, they are all recognized for their art. All these disciplines, including sound, are fundamentally essential, and it seems"irrational that one particular area should be excluded from recognition at the Tony awards," writes Clarke.

The fate of a good sound designer is to be overlooked because the art of sound design is, at its best, invisible. And Clarke ends with a quip:

We [sound designers] wish the [American Theatre Wing] well in its future endeavors. Such as its awards show next year. Especially with the sound for it.

For the full story, check out The Guardian.

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