John McKernon     

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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.

From 2004 to 2020, John was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Tisch School of the Arts Department of Design for Stage and Film at New York University.

As of 11/8/2020


Many apologies for the non-columnar format...

John McKernon     Lighting Designer     9/17/10


Production     Theatre/Director, Choreographer, or Producer     Year


One Mo' Time     Longacre / Vernel Bagneris     2002

Associate to Ken Billington:

Drowning Crow     Biltmore /Marion McClinton, MTC     2004

An Evening With Jerry Herman         Booth /Lee Roy Reams     1998

Chicago     Richard Rodgers & Shubert /Walter Bobbie     1996 - present

Inherit the Wind     Royale /John Tillinger     1996

The Red Shoes     Gershwin /Stanley Donen     1993

Sweet Sue     Music Box & Royale /John Tillinger     1987


The Trip to Bountiful     Signature Theatre / Harris Yulin     2005

Jelly Roll!     Theatre Royal Stratford East, London     1995

Jelly Roll!     47th St (Puerto Rican) & Kaufman /Dean Irby     1994, 95

Further Mo'     Village Gate/Vernel Bagneris     1990

Hot Chocolate     Harold Clurman/Larry Alford     1985

Amahl and the Night Visitors     BAM Playhouse/G.C. Menotti     1984

Othello      Roundabout Theatre/Gene Feist     1979

Associate to Ken Billington:

Wonder of the World     Manhattan Theatre Club / Chris Ashley     2002

Time and Again     Manhattan Theatre Club/Susan Schulman     2001

Sylvia     Manhattan Theatre Club & John Houseman /John Tillinger     1995

Party     Douglas Fairbanks/David Dillon     1995

Two Gentlemen of Verona     New York Shakespeare Festival Delacorte/Adrian Hall     1994

Annie Warbucks     Variety Arts/Martin Charnin     1993

Lips Together, Teeth Apart     Manhattan Theatre Club & Lucille Lortel/John Tillinger     1991

The Lisbon Traviata     Manhattan Theatre Club & Promenade /John Tillinger     1989

     Mark Taper Forum, Marines Memorial


Jelly Roll!     A. Dean Irby     1996-97

Associate to Ken Billington:

Chicago (8 companies)     Walter Bobbie / Melissa King     1997-present

Belle of Amherst (with Julie Harris)     Charles Nelson Reilly     2000

Lettice and Lovage  (Julie Harris)     Michael Blakemore     1993

Annie Get Your Gun (Cathy Rigby)      Susan Shulman     1992

West Side Story  (US. & Europe)     Alan Johnson     1990

Chess     Des MacAnuff     1990

Nunsense     Dan Goggin     1989


…Putnam.. Spelling Bee     Muhlenberg Summer Musicals / Bill Mutimer     2010

The Mikado     Muhlenberg Summer Musicals / Charles Richter     2010

An American Tragedy     Muhlenberg Theatre Assoc. / Charles Richter, Barbara Siman     2010

The Trip to Bountiful     Goodman Theatre / Harris Yulin     2008

Crazy for You     North Shore Music Theatre / Richard Stafford     2007

One Mo' Time     Williamstown Theatre Festival / Vernel Bagneris     2001

A Map of the World     Bridges Int'l Rep Co. / Aaron Levin     2001

The School of Jolly Dogs     Eugene O'Neil Theater Center     1996


The Nutcracker     N.C. School of the Arts / Robert Lindgren     1998-2008

The Nutcracker     Oregon Ballet Theatre/James Canfield     1993-2002

Romeo and Juliet     American Repertory Ballet /Septime Webre     1994

Romeo and Juliet     Eugene Ballet/Toni Pimble     1984

A Midsummer Night's Dream     North Carolina Dance Theatre/Norbert Vesak     1984

Pearl Lang Dance Company     Pearl Lang     1983-2001

Santa Barbara Ballet     Various     1977-1982

Pauline Koner Dance Consort     Pauline Koner     1976-1980

Heritage Dance Theatre (Assistant to Eugene Lowery)     Agnes DeMille     1975


Gala 2010 Benefit     Westport Country Playhouse / Joe Calarco     2010

Camp Show Benefit     Hole in the Wall Gang Camp / James Naughton     2007

Nothing Like A Dame '98     Shubert Theatre/Phyllis Newman     1998

Folk Songs Plus / USA     92nd St. Y/Charles Repole     1993-94

ASCAP Tribute to S. Sondheim     Pierre Hotel/Arthur Whitelaw     1991

American Image Awards     Sheraton Center/Arthur Whitelaw     1988

AADA 100th Anniversary Gala     Vivian Beaumont/Arthur Whitelaw     1985


Wagner/Lampkowski Residence     Point Pleasant, PA     2007

SAC Capital, Ltd. - Renovations     New York, NY     2001

Rocking Horse Cafe - Renovations     New York, NY     2000

Tavern on the Green     New York, NY     1986-06

Glassman & Elias Offices     New York, NY     1995

Aaron Residences     New York & Pennsylvania     1990-91

Ken Billington, Inc.: Associate Designer/Architectural Projects Supervisor:

38 projects, including          1984-2002

The Russian Tea Room     New York, NY     2000-02

Tavern on the Green     Central Park, NY     1986-2007

Thomas/Donahue Residences     New York City & Connecticut     1987-98

Gladstone's     Universal CityWalk, CA     1993

King Xmhu Nightclub     Sapporo, Japan     1991

Maison du Caviar     Tokyo, Japan     1988

Club El Morocco     New York City     1987


Author of Lightwright computer program          1979-present

Member, Lighting Dimensions Magazine Advisory Board          2001-2005

The Medium (Scene Design)     Wolf Trap Opera / Frank Rizzo 1977     

The Telephone (Scene Design)     Wolf Trap Opera / Lou Galterio 1977

Scenic Design Associate to A. Christina Giannini:

Einstein on the Beach     Europe & Metropolitan Opera / Robert Wilson 1976     


NYU Tisch School of the Arts     Adjunct Faculty     2004-2020


BFA, North Carolina School of the Arts (Lighting & Scenic Design)          1975


Member, United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1984


The Trip to Bountiful (Signature Theatre production) was nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design for both the Drama Desk Award and the Lucille Lortel Award in 2006