Fun Home was my first show at Portland Center Stage and I was thrilled to be asked to work on it. I love Portland the city, and was excited to design a show that has had so few previous productions - it felt like I had more freedom to make choices and put my own spin on the piece. The staff at Portland Center Stage are fantastic and supported me every step of the way.
So often I find that my "big-concept" ideas about musical numbers get cut in tech, but director Chris Coleman and musical director Rick Lewis were open to me putting some "period flair" on the rock number "Come to the Fun Home": in the show, the three kids are recording an advertisement for the family business: a funeral home. They place a cassette recorder on the ground, hit record, and the band starts the number. I EQ'd the band as a whole to sound thin and mid-rangey and added a little bit of crunchy distortion so that the band would sound as if they were coming out of the tape recorder. This effect stayed in until the end of the first verse (see the first photo below) and then we cross-faded to the full lush band sound for the verse and continued into the number. I really liked the effect, it gave the number a different feeling from anything else in the show. Chris and Rick were willing to let me experiment and we ended up keeping it in the show!