Tony award-winning sound design featured in WKU theatre production

Kristina Burton

You can tell a lot about someone from his or her cell phone. From contacts, to photos, to messages, apps and phone calls, there’s an abundance of personal information stored on that one device.

The WKU Theatre Program’s latest production, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” conveys just how much can be revealed by a cell phone — even if its owner is no longer alive.

WKU Alumni Darron West won the 2012 Tony award for sound design and is allowing WKU to use his work in the show.

“I’m fascinated and curious how it’ll work in a new production with a new cast and new sense of direction,” West said. “It’s a gift to be able to go back and revisit it. It’s like going back and visiting an old friend.”

David Young, department head of Theatre & Dance and director of the show, feels that the sound design is almost like another character.

“The show takes place in multiple locations, and the sound design helps the audience know what each location is and sets the tone for each scene,” Young said. “People aren’t always aware of that. They wouldn’t know how much the sound design conveys until it’s taken away.”

Andrew Duff, the sound coordinator for the show, said adapting West’s design from Broadway to Gordon Wilson’s Lab Theatre is a unique opportunity.

“It’s really wonderful that he’s allowed us to use his design and it sounds great,” Duff said.

Becca Trimbur, a 22-year-old senior from Villa Hills who plays Mrs. Gottlieb in the show, hopes that audience members get invested with the show.

“I’m hoping to make people laugh and that they’ll enjoy the show and really be connected with us in it,” Trimbur said.

Tyler Brown, a 21-year-old Nashville senior who plays the character Gordon Gottlieb, feels that the show makes you appreciate your cell phone but also a little scared of everything it holds.

“According to this show, you can find out the entire life of someone from the informational bits of someone’s cell phone, even when they’re not alive,” Brown said. “It’s very powerful. People will say, ‘My cell phone is my life,’ and there’s so much truth to that.”

Dead Man’s Cell Phone runs April 11 to April 16 in the Lab Theatre in Gordon Wilson Hall and is recommended for mature audiences. All shows are at 8 p.m. except for the Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students. Advance tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 745-3121.