#15 John McKernon

Episode #15 goes to the Obi-Wan of lighting software…it’s John McKernon! John tells us how Lightwright came to be and what it’s like creating an integral design tool used all over the globe. Learn how Lightwright and John’s career started (like so many things) in Ken Billington’s office, and hear tales from the past from ‘One Mo’ Time’, ‘The Red Shoes’, ‘Chicago’, and ‘Late Nite Comic’. Hear what the Union exam used to be like back in the “old days” and what John thinks is the trick to winning a Tony for lighting. John McKernon has forever changed the way lighting design is created and documented and now you can meet the man behind the code!

John McKernon’s lighting design credits including One Mo’ Time (Broadway) Jelly Roll! (New York & London), The Piano Lesson, Further Mo’, Othello (Roundabout), The Trip to Bountiful (Signature), Crazy for You, The Chalk Garden, and An Evening With Jerry Herman. He has also designed extensively in dance, for companies ranging from the North Carolina Dance Theatre and the Oregon Ballet Theatre to Pauline Koner and Pearl Lang’s modern dance companies on productions as varied as The Nutcracker, Daphnis and Chloe, Giselle, Cantigas, Sleeping Beauty, and The Dybbuk. His most recent shows in New York are Proof and All My Sons, both directed by Harris Yulin for the Juilliard Drama Division.

For over twenty years he has also been an associate designer to Ken Billington, with whom he has worked on many prominent productions, including Chicago (U.S. and internationally), Inherit the Wind, The Lisbon Traviata, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Sylvia, What the Butler Saw, West Side Story (U.S. and European tours), Nunsense, Sweet Sue, The Red Shoes, Annie Warbucks, Annie Get Your Gun, Jerrry Herman on Broadway, and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

As architectural lighting supervisor for KB Associates Inc., he was involved in the design of many restaurants and nightclubs from New York to Asia. These credits include lots of restaurants in NYC (all since closed), plus King Xmhu in Sapporo; Toscana and Gladstone’s at Universal CityWalk; Sabai Dee for the Pacific Islands Clubs in Guam and Thailand, and many years of work with Tavern on the Green. He is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts.



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