Cory has a day off out of town with little to do but sit and chat with another awesome designer, so this week we bring you a brand new episode with Sound Designer and very distinguished gentleman, Alex Hawthorn! Aside from following in the footsteps of past guests with fantastically groomed facial hair (Mr Zinn and Mr Nigrini), Alex is one of the leading Associate Sound Designers on Broadway, on the cutting edge of new advents in sound design technology. Fresh off his collaboration with Ken Travis on “In Transit,” Alex discusses the myriad of difficulties in finding the right sound for Broadway’s first a capella musical. With in-ear monitors for every cast member, a backstage mixer, hundreds of cues that only the performers hear, and no band to hide behind, the sound design plays a starring role. Alex and Cory also discuss the optics of where the Sound Designer sits during tech and how that can help shape the ongoing discussion about sound as a craft vs art. And they bounce around to other topics including the revolutionary approach to how you hear the performers at ‘Aladdin’, the transition from associate to designer, how sound designs are adjusted for touring productions, and naturally, the best BBQ in Kansas City!
Alex Hawthorn is a Brooklyn-based sound designer and composer. As a resident artist with Theater Mitu, he has designed many shows, including Hamlet/UR-Hamlet, Juárez: A Documentary Mythology, and Medea. His work with Theater Reconstruction Ensemble includes Rhinbecca, NY (The Brick), You On the Moors Now (HERE Arts), and the upcoming How to Hamlet, or Hamleting Hamlet (HERE Arts). Other NY credits include STRAIGHT (Acorn Theater), Fly By Night (Playwrights Horizons), The Great Immensity (The Civilians at The Public), and Old Comedy from Aristophanes’ Frogs (Target Margin at CSC). Regionally, his work has been heard at the Ordway, Kansas City Rep, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Mass MoCA, Contemporary Arts Center, and LATC, as well as in Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
As an Associate, his work on Broadway includes In Transit, Aladdin, I’ll Eat You Least, Jekyll & Hyde, A Christmas Story, Harvey, Chaplin, Newsies, Once, A View From the Bridge, Memphis and Hair.
In addition to (and occasionally in conjunction with) his sound design work, Alex enjoys playing around with Max MSP, Arduinos, and other meldings of art and technology. He can often be found with a camera in-hand, and his photographic work can be seen on Instagram as AFHawthorn.