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sound designer/composer/audio engineer


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Composition & Sound Design

(click on the Show Title to hear the sound montage)


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Fake  (2:47)


Steppenwolf Theatre Company, September 2009 * Playwright/Director: Eric Simonson


This world premiere by Eric Simonson centered on the British science community's Piltdown Man Hoax during the first half of the Twentieth Century.  The plot dealt with issues of science, faith, trust, love and loss.  Eric asked me to weave a combination of Bach, found period music, radio static and original music that represented a feeling of "the cosmic and the breath of God."



Armadale   (3:05)


Milwaukee Repertory Theater, April 2008 * Playwright: Jeffrey Hatcher * Director: Joe Hanreddy


          Cello: Adrien Zitoun


This world premiere Jeffrey Hatcher play was adapted from Wilkie Collins' 1866 "sensational Gothic novel."  The director and I decided early on that the score and design should revolve around the cello, should evoke the feeling of classic suspense/horror films and use recurring character and event motifs to help the audience keep track of the extremely complex plot and cast of actors playing multiple characters.



The Tempest   (2:34)


American Players Theatre, August 2003 * Playwright: Wm. Shakespeare * Director: David Frank


          Bamboo Flutes & Percussion: BGF


The mystical nature of Prospero's island, as well as its natural sounds, forms the basis for this score.  This production was set in Elizabeth's time.



Burning Chrome   (6:27)      Nominated for the 1998 Jeff Award for Sound Design


Next Theatre Company, February 1998 * Adapted from the short story by William Gibson * Adapter/Director: Steve Pickering


          Automatic Jack voiceover: Ted Koch    


This production was an original adaptation of the classic cyberpunk sci-fi short story Burning Chrome.  The soundscape needed to do much in this case, because of the scope of the show and the limitations of the theatre's space and budget.  The play is essentially a noir story about two cyber-criminals and the young woman with whom they both fall in love.  The crime in the story is the "big score" of their careers:  to go through cyberspace and rob Chrome, an Asian madam and mobster, without getting killed.  Like the short story, the crime is told in narrative flashbacks and as well as all-at-once at the end.  Stylistically, the show needed to have a futuristic feel, which was both technological and multi-cultural.  Included here are several pieces of music and sound design (some of which include samples from pop culture and music, and draw heavily on techno, Japanese, and film noir styles), and The Burn, the actual crime in real-time.  In performance, The Burn (beginning at 4:10 into the MP3) was a cue in front-to-back and side-to-side surround sound.  Due to the limitations of MP3s, it is in stereo here.  Also, this cue had actor dialogue on top of it, which is missing here.  In 17 years of designing, it is still the most intense and intricate two minutes and fifteen seconds of sound I've ever been called upon to build.



Snow   (3:17)


Next Theatre Company, November 1997 * By Tom Szentgyorgyi * Director: Sarah Tucker


          Daughter voiceovers: Sarah Tucker


Snow is about an elderly married couple that doesn't get along very well any more, who gets stuck driving through the mountains.  Over the course of the play they argue, separate, begin reminiscing about the past, hallucinate about the present and finally reconcile before they freeze to death.  The music needed to provide a benign, hypnotic effect for the audience in the beginning, which could turn dark or frantic later on.  The "daughter on the radio" and "pilot falling from the sky" cues are some of the wife's hallucinations.



Macbeth   (2:38)      Winner of the 1996 Jeff Award for Sound Design


Next Theatre Company, March 1996 * Playwright: Wm. Shakespeare * Director: Kate Buckley


          Witch voiceovers: Naama Potok, Michael Park Ingram, & Alison Halstead * Flute: Madra Funderburg


The music in this production was mainly modeled after two Celtic sources:  a song by the Australian band Brother, and a Chieftains arrangement of a traditional Irish tune.  After the opening percussive sequence, thunder carried us into the first scene of the Witches.  Their scenes were accompanied by the low, pulsing, animal-laden bed you hear here.  The three voiceovers were used for the Three Apparitions in Act IV.  Finally, the flute melody served as Lady Macbeth's theme.



Sherlock Holmes:  The Final Adventure   (2:43)


Milwaukee Repertory Theater, April 2006 * Playwright: Steven Dietz * Director: Joe Hanreddy


This new Steven Dietz play was designed and acted as a melodrama in the style of the old Sherlock Holmes movies.  The score and sound design for this production, which were based on classical themes by Cesar Franck, Edward Elgar and Alan Hovhaness, sought to evoke the adventurous, mysterious and epic nature of the story.  The train passing sound effect is built from about ten separate elements of train sounds.  In performance, it "traveled" through the center of the thrust stage, giving the illusion that the characters were standing on a train platform.



One Thousand Cranes   (2:45)


Indiana Repertory Theatre, April 2000 * Playwright: Colin Thomas * Director: Risa Brainin


This production is the story of Sadako, the celebrated Japanese girl who died of cancer as a result of an atomic bomb at the end of World War II.  In the story, she starts the tradition, still practiced today, of folding paper cranes for peace.  The production called for several pieces of music in traditional Japanese styles.


Sound Design

(click on the Show Title to hear the sound montage)


Work Song:  Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright   (2:06)


Milwaukee Repertory Theater, September 2000 * Missouri Repertory Theatre & Arizona Theatre Company, March 2002 * City Theatre Company, November 2004 * L.A. Theatre Works, October 2006 * Playwrights: Eric Simonson & Jeffrey Hatcher * Director: Eric Simonson


          Frank Lloyd Wright voiceover: Lee E. Ernst * Music: Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan, by Thomas Canning


This epic production told of the life of iconoclastic architect Frank Lloyd Wright in three acts in three different theatrical styles.  The one periodically recurring musical theme was this piece of music, Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan, by Thomas Canning, which had to be heavily edited to fit the show.  The Prologue heard here accompanied slide images and a movement piece that introduced Wright, and the women in his life, to the audience.  The director’s concept for the voiceover was two-fold: to hear Wright’s distant voice from the past listing his fundamentals of design, and to "re-create" a period recording of a famous speech he made for which no recording exists.  In performance, this cue was actually multiple sound files that played from several different speakers.  Here it is mixed to stereo for your listening pleasure.



The Glass Menagerie   (0:44)


Milwaukee Repertory Theater, December 1998 * Playwright: Tennessee Williams * Director: Paul Barnes


          Contains samples from Depression era music and pop culture * Laura's Musicbox theme: BGF


This production focused strongly on music to subtly drive Tom's memories of life at home during the Depression.  This opening sequence was a montage used to set the time of the show, during which Tom made the entrance for his first monologue.  The cue ends with Laura's theme, which was reprised during key memories of her.





Original Music & Sound Design © Copyright 1996-2016 Barry G. Funderburg.

Any samples of copyrighted material are the property of their respective owners.