The Tony Awards Administration Committee received outraged feedback for its ruling on Wednesday, June 11 to eliminate the Best Sound Design categories for play and musical.

According to The New York Times, the committee reached this decision upon the following grounds:

“Many Tony voters do not know what sound design is or how to assess it; a large number of Tony voters choose not to cast ballots in sound design categories because of this lack of expertise; and some administration committee members believe that sound design is more of a technical craft, rather than a theatrical art form that the Tonys are intended to honor,” writes Patrick Healy.

John Gromada, who was nominated for a 2013 Tony for his sound design of The Trip to Bountiful, immediately created an online petition that garnered more than 8,000 signatures before noon the day after the announcement. Gromada was one of the designers who originally argued for a sound design category, which was finally instated in 2008, while its lighting design counterpart had been in place since 1970.  Now, six years since that success, he intends to present the petition to reinstate the sound design awards to the committee representative later today.

2014 Tony-award winner for sound design of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Brian Ronan told The New York Times:

“Like my fellow designers in set, costumes, and light, I work in talent support, and as a whole we produce an end result that allows the performer to deliver the best production to the audience…I suppose, however, it’s the lack of tangibility in sound that led to the Tony’s decision to eliminate us from the ceremony. Our craft is at its highest when the audience is unaware of our presence, when the sound complements and moves the audience without drawing attention to itself. The Tony committee can be forgiven for taking the hard work that goes into invisibility for granted.”

Sound designer, Benjamin Furiga, who assisted Golden Boy on Broadway in 2012, said this in retaliation towards the Tony committee believing sound design to be less art, and more technical, according to The New York Times:

“To argue that sound design is a solely technical pursuit would be akin to arguing that the musicians playing synthesizers in the orchestra pit are simply technicians,” Mr. Furiga said. “Their art is enacted solely on technology.”

For the full article, visit The New York Times.