February 2013

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February 2013

In Memoriam:

John Scheffler

John Scheffler receives his USITT Distinguished Achievement Award in Scene Design from Nadine Charlsen.

Photo/USITT Archives

Scenery and costume designer John C. Scheffler, professor emeritus at Brooklyn College Theatre Department and recipient of the 2011 USITT Distinguished Achievement Award for Scene Design, passed away December 15.

Mr. Scheffler had been an active member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1968.

A New Orleans native, he graduated from Tulane University School of Architecture and worked as a junior partner in a New Orleans architecture firm while serving as resident designer for the Algiers Community Theatre and several ballet companies.

He got his start in design as a teenager designing Mardi Gras costumes for Blaine Kern Studios. He remained involved in Mardi Gras for 40 years, designing costumes for many "krewes" including the Krewe of Alla and the Krewe of Cleopatra.

In 1965, he moved to New York and worked as a set designer for regional theatre and opera companies around the world.  He won a 1971 OBIE Award for set design for Heathcote Williams's play AC/DC. He taught at Brooklyn College for 24 years, serving as head of the Theatre Design Department for most of that time until his retirement in 2005. Even after that, he served as resident designer for the White Horse Theatre Co. in Chicago and Out of the Box Theatre in New York, among others.

His set and costume designs were featured in a special exhibit as part of the 2011 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he received the USITT Distinguished Achievement Award.   He was also honored at a session retrospective of his work and life.