Bernard J. “Bernie” Weiss


DOB: 1925 Location: Cleveland, Ohio
DOD: 3/4/2003         Location: Las Vegas, Nevada




  • Industrial Arts Education, Ohio State University

Employment history:

  • Torpedo man, U.S. Navy (1943-1946)
  • Crew Head, Cain Park Theatre, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1946 Editor’s note: Dr. Joel E. Ruben was a teenaged crew member for the Cain Park Theatre that summer.  He fondly recalled Mr. Weiss in those days: “Bernie was the Crew Head for an open-air, 3, 000-seat theatre with an 80-foot –wide proscenium and a 10-week summer season of 10 shows, half of which were musicals. That was a lot of scenery to generate and paint every week, and Bernie made sure every thing was on stage for the dress rehearsal and the paint was dry by opening night. Bernie also taught us the trick of cutting quarts of ice cream in half on the band-saw for our summer mid-afternoon breaks.”
  • Senior Technical Director for Broadway and television productions over a period of nearly 45 years from the 1950s to the 1990s.  Editor’s note: This period is now known as “The Golden Age of Broadway.”  Mr. Weiss worked with virtually every Broadway designer of the period and counted Ralph Alswang, Lemuel Ayers, Donald Oenslager, Max Gorelik, Jo Mielziner, Boris Aronson, and Oliver Smith among his favorites. His special skill was translating designer renderings (not elevations) into technical drawings for the scenic studios and supervising a production through initial put-in to make sure that everything worked and fit perfectly.  He was considered by his colleagues to be one of the great Technical Directors of the professional theatre.
  • Project Manager, Nolan Studios (1950s)
  • Principal & Partner, Feller Studios (1960s & 1970s)  supervised much of the early scenery automation and worked as principal planning consultant for backstage technologies in renovations for Broadway theatres, roadhouses, and new performing arts centers around the country and the world.
  • Owner and Operator, Metro Scenic Studios (1970s & 1980s)
  • House carpenter and manager of technical activities for the Shuberts,
  • Supervisor, Cort Theatre,
  • Stage consultant with Peter Feller, design and construction of theatres in Mexico City, a State Department assignment in the Soviet Union, and the backstage consultation on the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
  • Design and fabrication, Olympic torch for the Winter Games in Lake Placid (1976)

USITT Involvement and Offices Held:

  • Founding member (1961)
  • Chair (1964-1969) & long-time member of the Engineering Commission
  • Board of Directors, 1960s and 1970s
  • Technical Advisor to the Chair, USITT Exhibit, Prague Quadrennial, 1987 — Gold medal winner
  • Represented International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) at Stage Expo booth for over 20 years as a long-time member, first in Cleveland, then in New York

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (2001)