“Good writers give signposts, and if you look hard enough, they are there.”
Remembering Tom Stechschulte
We were saddened to learn of the loss of narrator Tom Stechschulte in late spring 2021. Tom had a wonderfully deep, resonant voice, and he brought an authentic feel to characters from the American West and the South. His keen ear for cadences and speech patterns made his characters completely memorable. Tom recorded many essential titles, including Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, Kent Haruf’s PLAINSONG, H.G. Bissinger’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Annie Proulx’s THAT OLD ACE IN THE HOLE, Rick Bragg’s AVA’S MAN, Jimmy Carter’s AN HOUR BEFORE DAYLIGHT, and titles by Cormac McCarthy and James Lee Burke. In our review of Dennis Lehane’s SHUTTER ISLAND, contributing editor Sandi Henschel noted, “One difference between simply listening and having a listening experience is Tom Stechschulte.” A narrator who prepared rigorously, Tom told us, “Good writers give signposts, and if you look hard enough, they are there.” Tom’s acting career began as a diversion. He was a college athlete and business major, and a friend dared him to audition for the spring play. He got the part, and soon after traded the locker room for the dressing room. Regional theater roles, including Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird at Boston’s Huntington Theatre in 1996, eventually brought him to New York City and to recording audiobooks.
2003 Narrator Yearbook -- A recent reviewer said, "One difference between simply listening and having a listening experience is Tom Stechschulte." Tom seems to inhabit his characters and shares the full power of each with listeners. His fluency with Southern accents and speech patterns has brought him a sterling group of writerly work: AVA'S MAN by Rick Bragg, THE RABBIT FACTORY by Larry Brown, BITTERROOT by James Lee Burke, SCORCHED EARTH by David Robbins, and THAT OLD ACE IN THE HOLE by Annie Proulx. He's skilled at capturing the essence of accents, avoiding wrong notes that make them less than believable to the knowing ear. Tom likes a close association with the production team while recording, and says he depends on this collaboration to guide his work. A jazz fan, Tom remarks that intonations he hears on archival jazz recordings sometimes make their way into his stable of characters. A recent triumph is Tom's performance of SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane. In addition to his skill with dark, maniacal characters, Tom easily expresses the humor of David Handler's Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag and has a stack of awards for his children's titles, including Robert Newton Peck's HORSE THIEF and Harold Keith's RIFLES FOR WATIE . Of special interest and due out in December 2003 is his narration of Tim O'Brien's celebrated THE THINGS THEY CARRIED .
Photo courtesy of narrator
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