A sound designer with proven “moxie,” JUSTIN SCHMITZ brings his aural magic to the world premiere of Randy Baker’s Forgotten Kingdoms  at Rorschach Theatre  through May 21. Check out this week’s Take Ten to share his longing for a Ziegfeld Follies past, a Ryan Reynolds future, and a perpetual journey Into the Woods.
1) What was the first show you ever saw, and what impact did it have?
The first show I ever saw that I can remember was The Nutcracker. I distinctly remember the Mother Gertrude moment in Act 2 where 45 people came pouring out from under her dress, and at 5 years of age, that was magic like I had never scene. From then I knew I wanted to create magic that everyone could love as much as I did.
2) What was your first involvement in a theatrical production?
First theatrical experience was in high school during a Madrigal dinner feaste. I had sung a soprano opera aria during a concert 3 months before hand and was asked to join the cast of a show because of the moxie of the song. I ended up playing a king in the production.
3) What’s your favorite play or musical, and why do you like it so much?
The running joke is that almost every musical is my favorite musical, but at the end of the day, the musical I always turn to is Into The Woods. Sondheim’s brilliance shines through in asking adults to think about the dreams we had as children, what happened to us when we got those dreams? What has become of the person we were before we got what we wanted?
4) What’s the worst day job you ever took?
Ooof! That’s tough. I’d have to say dish-washing for a local tavern back in WI was the worst, it was fun working with my godmother, but I distinctly remember my back aching for days afterword. Perhaps that’s why I always seek dishwashers in apartment searches.
5) What is your most embarrassing moment in the theatre?
My most embarrassing moment would have to be firing a full sequence of cues that I had created, sculpted, and rehearsed for days and days, at completely the wrong time. It completely ruined the moment and I felt just shocked that I had mis-fired a cue.
The collaboration! Everyone at Rorschach is so collaborative, we’ve had amazing conversations about this piece that Randy has created, and have come together to really create amazing art.
7) Other than your significant other, who’s your dream date (living or dead) and why?
Ryan Reynolds still makes me swoon. He’s got that charm and smile that makes you melt into a thousand pieces, not to mention his great ability to be a wonderful father to his child, and let’s not forget those washboard abs!
8) What is your dream role/job?
My dream role/job is teaching at a university. I’ve always been a teacher at heart, and I cannot wait to one day join the ranks of professors everywhere impacting lives and bringing new people into the magical realm of sound design.
9) If you could travel back in time, what famous production or performance would you choose to see?
I would absolutely love to see a Ziegfeld show in its glory days. I think being able to see that former glory of theatre performance would be a treat to see when the world wasn’t as connected as it is today, and the music of a full orchestra reigned supreme.
10) What advice would you give to an 8-year-old smitten by theatre / for a graduating MFA student?
To an 8-year old: explore every opportunity you can while you grow up, never lose the magic. To an MFA graduating individual- remember the magic, remember why you chose the field; harness that feeling and use it to propel you distances unimagined. Try everything, attempt the impossible, and go with your soul.
JUSTIN SCHMITZ is a sound designer and theatre artist based in Washington DC. He has designed sound for: The Kennedy Center, The Kennedy Center’s Theatre For Young Audiences, Signature Theatre, Round House, Theater J, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, Imagination Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Forum, Rorschach, WSC Avant Bard, Dixon Place, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Triad Stage, Catholic University, Gallaudet University, The University of Maryland, among others. He is a 2017 Helen Hayes Award nominee for his work on I Call My Brothers (Forum Theatre) and received fellowships from The Kennedy Center’s Kenan Institute, KCACTF to attend The Orchard Project, and Chautauqua Theatre Company. He has performed with Carol Burnett in her one-woman show Carol Burnett, Laughter and Reflection and in June, will be singing at Carnegie Hall in the Octavo Series. Justin has started a theatre company with local artists, Do Good Theatre, with a desire to use art to inspire social change. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Sound Design for Theatre, and a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in Theatrical Design, Technology, and Stage Management Visit www.justinschmitztheatre.com  or www.dogoodtheatre.com .