John McKernon

Instructor Bio: 

John has been designing lighting professionally since 1975, in addition to writing software and occasionally painting scenery. Recent lighting designs include What the Butler Saw at the Mark Taper Forum last year (with Ken Billington), a new ballet version of Peter Pan for Nashville Ballet, and 2011's Broadway benefit performance of The Visit starring Chita Rivera, plus ongoing work with Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. One of his favorite designs was for the Signature Theater production of The Trip to Bountiful, directed by Harris Yulin and starring Lois Smith, which earned him Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design. He also designed the New York and London productions of Jelly Roll! starring Vernel Bagneris as well as subsequent national tours. Over the years he has lit plays, musicals, ballets, modern dance, religious pageants, galas, restaurants, and nightclubs for clients across the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has been an associate designer to Ken Billington since 1984, with whom he has worked on many notable productions, including the Broadway productions of Chicago, The Red Shoes, and Inherit the Wind as well as An Evening with Jerry Herman, Chess, The Lisbon Traviata, Lips Together Teeth Apart, West Side Story, Sweet Sue, Sylvia, The Belle of Amherst, Nunsense, and Annie Warbucks. As architectural lighting supervisor for KB Associates, Inc., he was involved in the design of many prominent attractions, including Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room in New York, King Xmhu in Sapporo, Aba Daba Disco in Phuket, and SeaWorld in Orlando. Since 2004, John has also been a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Tisch School of the Arts Department of Design for Stage and Film at New York University.


North Carolina School of the Arts
Not an ETCP Recognized Trainer


IATSE, Local 728

Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians

1001 W. Magnolia Blvd.

Burbank, CA 91506

(818) 954-0728


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