Best Sound DesignerBehind-the-scenes aural colorist

Gregory Scharpen

David Reyes (The Chairs at the Aurora) and Gina Leishman (CalShakes’ Much Ado About Nothing) both created some incredibly beautiful and evocative sound and music last year. But the Phantom of the Berkeley City Club struck repeatedly in 2003, with trippy aural turns on Lionheart and The Wyrd Sisters. Lurking behind a screen wedged in the tiny space between the massive fireplace and the wall, Gregory Scharpen isn’t just the sound behind CentralWorks: He jokes that he “comes with the space,” regardless of who puts up the show. While he may not live up to his distinctly Rasputinish appearance in character — Scharpen is goofily personable when he emerges from his cramped lair — there’s a definite air of the magician in what he can do for a production’s ambience. Maybe it’s a result of his other gig as a KALX DJ, but whether he’s tweaking a Hugh Masekela track to sound like singing from down a long hallway or searching out a composition that Richard the Lionheart actually wrote, Scharpen knows exactly what a show needs to sound perfect in the intimate confines of the City Club’s performance space.

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