The Crucible - Clarence Brown Theatre 2016

Designer Ron Keller’s set of rough-hewn boards, aided by the lighting of Kenton Yeager, created a sense of depth in the limited space of the Carousel Theatre. Joe Payne’s impressive soundtrack of music and environmental effects was immersive and beautifully subliminal.

-Alan Sherrod, Knoxville Mercury  Article Link

Henry V - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2016

Joe Payne's complex sound design — waves, wind, marching feet, cannons and swishing arrows — adds another emotional layer to the play, complementing the original music that underscores Henry's monologues and the somber singing of "Non Nobis, Domine."

-Barbara M. Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune Article Link

The sets, music and lighting are equal to the challenge of this virile play: the stage is festooned with floor to ceiling banners, the battle scenes thunder across the smoky planks, and Bardolph’s execution proves physically poignant.

-by Shawn Rossiter Artists of Utah Article Link

Titus Andronicus - Clarence Brown Theatre 2016

Making a subtle contribution, the interwoven music and effects of CBT composer and sound designer Joe Payne were once again impressive. At times understated and suggestive, while at others bold and presentational, Payne’s audio support was an indispensable part of the character of the production...One nod to modern theatrical practice—and a tremendously effective one—was the use of projections to symbolically illustrate dripping and smearing blood.

-- Alan Sherrod, Knoxville Mercury. Article link

King Lear - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2015

Review: Utah Shakespeare Festival’s ‘King Lear’ is full of sound and fury

Vicki Smith's bare-bones set — consisting of just a few rocks and a single tree — is filled in by Donna Ruzika's atmospheric, flexible lighting, punctuated by torches, and Joe Payne's rich sound design with its natural and unnatural noises and regal music. Rachel Laritz's costumes are grounded in workaday fabrics and earthen tones. "King Lear" is one of Shakespeare's most complex and challenging plays, but this production makes it both accessible and emotionally powerful. And the dramatic images it creates are stunning.

--Barbara M. Bannon The Salt Lake Tribune 2015 Falstaff Awards: Nominated for Best Sound Design/Original score.

Mary Poppins - Alabama Shakespeare Festival 2014

The hard part with reviewing a production like this is there is simply too much praise to fit it all in a review. Still, the incredible and continually changing sets (Peter Hicks), the gorgeous costumes (Brenda Van Der Wiel) the lovely lighting (Phil Manat) and near-perfect sound (Joe Payne) can’t go unmentioned.  Given the talent involved, it’s no surprise that “Mary Poppins” soars.

-- Rick Harmon, Montgomery Advertiser

The Tempest - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2013

Jones [Director] also incorporated some beautiful music [composed by Joe Payne] throughout the show with an especially haunting melody sung by Ariel (Melinda Parrett), a dainty spirit and Prospero's helper. The music adds an ethereal level, making the mystical setting that much more believable.

-- Erica Hansen, Deseret News

The joy and triumph of USF’s production is that it brings that vibrant world to life in so many ways: • Joe Payne’s haunting New Age music, which summons past and future simultaneously.

-- Barbara M. Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Title: Singing, special effects create magic in USF production of 'The Tempest'... This is especially apparent in the magic of song [composed by Joe Payne]. Don’t worry; this isn’t “Prospero: The Musical.” But multiple characters do sing at times and they are often some of the more powerful moments of the play. While the songs of Stefano and Caliban are both entertaining, the most moving tune belongs to Melinda Parrett’s Ariel. Parrett is absolutely captivating as Ariel and the luminosity of her voice is emphasized as she enters, singing like an angel, immediately after Caliban exits, hissing.

-- Brian Passey, The Spectrum

One of the highlights of my trip this year was seeing, hearing, and feeling USF’s Ariel, and her haunting presence on the Adams Memorial Theatre stage...Never overdoing it, Woronicz clearly showed that Prospero was a powerful man. The effect of his magic was always synchronized with the other actors, the lighting, and the sound; it was impressive...It was a hot night in Cedar City, but I could forget that, as the music and sounds in the Adams surrounded the audience: echoing, blowing, and moving. Composer and sound designer Joe Payne created a beautiful audio environment, writing melodies to fit Shakespeare’s text.

-- Amber Peck, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association

Included in the Prague Quadrennial International Design Exhibition as one of 20 artist selected to represent the USA Exhibit.

A Christmas Carol - Clarence Brown Theatre 2012

Overall, creative lighting and sound, along with set design and projection technology, are used well. A large projection screen as an interactive backdrop beautifully sets the changing moods of scenes. But the technique was most impressive when a huge, moving, changing image of the black-robed Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was projected onto the screen, turning the screen into an important character.

-- Amy McRary, Knoxville News Sentinel

Sweeney Todd - Clarence Brown Theatre 2012

Sound design has advanced so far in the theater that productions like Sweeney Todd, where diction is key, are virtually impossible without it. Joe Payne’s voice reinforcement and the subtle environmental effects, were clean, natural, and transparent.

-- Alan Sheperd, Metro Pulse

Mary Stuart - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2012

Joe Payne's original music sounds religious and haunting simultaneously, and the thunderstorm that he and lighting designer Donna Ruzika orchestrate to punctuate Mary and Elizabeth's meeting is dramatic.

-- Barbara M. Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune

Fuddy Meers - Clarence Brown Theatre 2012

REVIEW: Troubling reflections lie beneath surface of often-funny 'Fuddy Meers'

Director John Sipes and his artistic team create the perfect palate for this play. A positively stunning set by Anita Fuchs includes multimedia elements that complement the underlying themes of the show. Home movie clips play in the backdrop of the set before and after the play and during scene changes. It's visually appealing, but also drives home the idea that memories can be like film clips or snapshots; not everything we remember is perfect or exact.

Those projections are the work of Joe Payne, who also did the sound design for the show. It's perfect. He incorporates classic TV themes into the soundtrack of the play. I'm pretty sure I even heard a snippet of the theme from "This is Your Life" at one point. Again, the sound design reinforces the notion that memory, even institutional memory, can be flawed and distorted.

--Timothy Hankins, The Daily Times

Pride and Prejudice - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2010

Overall, the play was well executed. The English accents (dialect coach Jack Greenman) were flawless, the sound (Joe Payne) and lighting (Jaymi Lee Smith) were perfect.

--Julia Shumway, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association

Our Town - Pioneer Theatre Company 2010

We as an audience had to immerse ourselves in the lives of the characters as they drew attention to every small action, leaving nothing too insignificant to be performed. The sound design (Joe Payne) accentuated this beautifully, giving nostalgic sounds to their day-to-day chores.

-- Tyler and Danniey Wright, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association

The Bakkhai - The University of Utah 2009

Review: This Dionysus has rock-star flair

Greek tragedy and rock opera -- the two seem diametrically opposed, one ancient and dignified, the other contemporary and raucous. Yet music can be effectively wed to gritty subject matter; Brecht and Weill's "The Threepenny Opera" and "The Who's Tommy" are just two examples. And what about "Sweeney Todd"? With its choral commentary and themes of cruelty and revenge, it has much in common with Greek tragedy.

So the decision to infuse Euripides' "The Bakkhai," this year's Classical Greek Theatre Festival production, with rock music is not as strange as it first appears. One of the aims of the festival (in its 39th year, the oldest in the country) is to underline the continuing relevance of these plays penned 2,500 years ago, and this experiment comes off remarkably well due to Joe Payne's spirited score, L. L. West's insightful direction, and the energy and enthusiasm of its student cast.

-- Barbara M. Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune

A Christmas Story - Pioneer Theatre Company 2009

George Maxwell's set screen looks like a Christmas card, and the family home behind it is worn but warm. Barnes' direction is very fluid, ably assisted by Kendall Smith's nostalgic lighting, which spotlights the narrator and makes set adjustments possible. Brenda Van Der Wiel's largely rust and brown period costumes and Joe Payne's rich sound design provide a vivid sense of life in the larger world.

-- Barbara M. Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune

Othello - Utah Shakespeare Festival 2008

This is probably one of the few productions I will ever give 5 stars to, but this hands down is the finest production of this Shakespeare masterpiece I have ever seen in my entire life!...Joe Payne (Sound, his original score was breathtaking).

--J. Evans, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association