Joseph Swartz Artist Spotlight

Meet Joseph Swartz, sound designer for Things You Can Do July 8-31!


Joseph Swartz (Sound Designer) is happy to be working with Live Girls! for the first time. A few favorite Seattle sound design highlights include BellevilleThe Art of Bad Men and The Feast for MAP Theatre, Dancing At Lughnasa, The Women of Lockerbie, Bach At Leipzig, and Letters to Sala for Seattle Pacific University, Crime and Punishment, A Streetcar Named Desire, and To Kill A Mockingbird for the old Intiman Theatre, the AB Prize winning musical revue That’s Live!: The Masterworks of Klaus Vanderblatt for StageLeft Productions, as well as numerous designs for Macha Monkey, for whose 2013 production of Cliffhouse (directed by Meghan Arnette) earned him a Gregory Award nomination. Joseph spends most of his day times working in the sound department at Seattle Children’s Theatre, and he would like to thank his son Jack whose patience borders on the heroic.

What was your favorite moment so far working on this piece?

– Creating an ear worm. Catching someone humming ‘Sailing’ and then catching themselves doing it and saying, “Gah! Why did you have to pick that song?” just warms my heart.

 What has been your favorite design challenge while working on this piece?

– Trying to interpret and discover who the characters are, and what might musically illustrate the moments of their lives.

What images or songs helped inspire your work on this play?

– The opening measures of ‘Sailing’. Gah! Why did I have to pick that one? I can’t get that opening bit out of my head, but it’s really influencing my musical choices.

What future projects are you excited about working on?

– Working on Seattle Children’s Theatre Summer Stage program. Kids on the stage, interns running the shows, it’s a lot of fun.

If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

– Being able to fluently read and speak any language at any time – and this includes the language of music – to be able to go anywhere and communicate with anyone, or eavesdrop. Alternatively, the ability of mind control. Mind control is probably the tops. People would finally start to be what I expect them to be, and yet what they never are…

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?

– “Art is never finished, it is only abandoned.”

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

– …makes me feel the darkness and misery of the characters, what underlies us all. Theatre that makes me think about how they got to that point, and what it feels like to be there.

 Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?

– The darkness and misery of Seattle baseball. And Fallout 4. That new graphics card does wonders.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

– My only true belief is a belief in pizza, which is totally valid because:  a) I can prove beyond a doubt it exists. b) it heals what ails me. c) there is a panoply of pizzas: countless lesser pizzas and select greater pizzas, but only individual people know in their hearts which pizza is right for them. d) no wars have been fought over pizza, and though a number of minor household arguments have been started over pizza, those are quickly negotiated to amicable enough conclusions. Also, the canvas can do miracles. What?