Jeffrey Ellis

Jeffrey Ellis

Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. In 1989, Ellis and his partner launched Dare, Tennessee's Lesbian and Gay Newsweekly which later became known as Query. Ellis is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theater in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly.  He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, and in 2016, he directed Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest for The Larry Keeton Theatre. He will direct My Fair Lady for The Keeton in 2017.

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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: Center for the Arts' Emotionally-Charged 1776BWW Review: Center for the Arts' 1776
Posted: Jul. 26, 2016


Tony Winner Anthony Crivello Joins Cast of Studio Tenn's EVITA Crivello Joins Cast of Studio Tenn's EVITA
Posted: Aug. 3, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

Nashville Children's Theatre's SCOT COPELAND DiesNashville Children's Theatre's SCOT COPELAND Dies
Posted: Feb. 25, 2016


BWW Interviews: CINDERELLA's Blair Ross 'Comes Home' to Play 'Madame'Blair Ross 'Comes Home' to Play 'Madame'
Posted: Oct. 16, 2015


Collegiate Theatrics: USC's ASHLEY ESKEWCollegiate Theatrics: USC's ASHLEY ESKEW
Posted: Mar. 1, 2016


Nashville Theater Mourns the Passing of Iconic Actor DAVID COMPTONNashville Theater Mourns Passing of DAVID COMPTON
Posted: May. 5, 2016


Tony Winner Anthony Crivello Joins Cast of Studio Tenn's EVITATony Winner Anthony Crivello Joins Cast of Studio Tenn's EVITA
August 3, 2016

Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello will join the cast of Studio Tenn and Tennessee Performinig Arts Center's production of Evita this September, playing the role of Juan Peron. Playing opposite Crivello in the eponymous role of Eva Peron is Broadway diva Eden Espinosa.
BWW Review: Center for the Arts' Emotionally-Charged 1776BWW Review: Center for the Arts' Emotionally-Charged 1776
July 26, 2016

Perhaps it's a case of perfect timing - or maybe it's simply the fact that a revival of a much-beloved Tony Award-winning best musical is enough to attract a strong ensemble of men to the project - but make no mistake about it, Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts succeeds where so many companies have fallen short in bringing a superbly mounted production of Sherman Edwards' and Peter Stone's 1776 to vibrant life onstage!
BWW Review: Nate Eppler's THE ICE TREATMENT Closes Actors Bridge's 20th Anniversary Season with Knee-capping FunBWW Review: Nate Eppler's THE ICE TREATMENT Closes Actors Bridge's 20th Anniversary Season with Knee-capping Fun
July 20, 2016

Rachel Agee's bravura performance - which, arguably, any actor would love to add to a resume - as a fictionalized Tonya Harding-like personality is enough to guarantee that audiences will continue to talk about the world premiere production of Nate Eppler's latest work, The Ice Treatment, for years to come.
Photo Coverage: 2016 First Night Preview PartyPhoto Coverage: 2016 First Night Preview Party
July 20, 2016

Two Broadway veterans join with a group of seven of Tennessee's most enduring, influential and outstanding theater artists to comprise the Class of 2016 First Night Honorees, who were revealed Monday night during the annual First Night preview party, hosted by First Night founder and executive producer Jeffrey Ellis.
The Friday 5: CCP's THE LITTLE MERMAID's Ruff, Cooper & GrahamThe Friday 5: CCP's THE LITTLE MERMAID's Ruff, Cooper & Graham
June 17, 2016

Cumberland County Playhouse starts the summer with a splash asDisney's The Little Mermaidopens on tonight!Based on Hans Christian Andersen's timeless tale,Disney's The Little Mermaidis a family musical that features classic songs: "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," and the Academy Award-winning "Under the Sea."
The Friday 5: OKLAHOMA's Baugher, Bupp, Riggs and LambThe Friday 5: OKLAHOMA's Baugher, Bupp, Riggs and Lamb
June 17, 2016

2015 First Night Honoree Martha Wilkinson directs - with musical direction by Tim Fudge, and choreography by Curtis Reid and Lauri Gregoire - the first collaboration from Music City Theatre Collective and Metro Parks Theatre Department of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, running at the Centennial Park Bandshell June 17-July 2.
The Friday 5: JUDY's Linda Sue Runyeon & Chase MillerThe Friday 5: JUDY's Linda Sue Runyeon & Chase Miller
June 17, 2016

Dickson's Gaslight Dinner Theatre continues its 16th Anniversary Season and 75th show with JUDY! A Musical Tribute, which opened yesterday. JUDY! A Musical Tribute is a two-act revue that includes performances of famous Garland tunes. Compiled and created by stage veterans Linda Sue Simmons Runyeon and Joe Grizzel, this cabaret revue is a musical collection of songs, video and documentary, taking the audience "down memory lane" about the life of America's sweet heart, Judy Garland.
Actors Bridge Slates Auditions for 2016/17 SeasonActors Bridge Slates Auditions for 2016/17 Season
June 14, 2016

Nashville's Actors Bridge Ensemble is pleased to announce open call auditions for their 21st professional theatre season. Auditions will be held Sunday, June 26, at the Actors Bridge Studio at Darkhorse Theatre by appointment. Actors are asked to please prepare a contemporary monologue of their choice under 2 minutes in length and to provide both a headshot and resume for consideration. Callbacks for each production will occur by invitation.
The Friday 5 (On Thursday): THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE's Samuel & SmithThe Friday 5 (On Thursday): THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE's Samuel & Smith
June 9, 2016

Nashville's summer theater season continues its fast clip with tonight's opening of the blockbuster musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson. Running through June 25, the tap-happy musical features Keeton favorite Stella London in the title role of Millie Delmount, with Austin Jeffrey Smith and Tyler Samuel playing Jimmy and Miss Dorothy, respectively.
IF/THEN's Stunning Performances Intrigue Nashville AudiencesIF/THEN's Stunning Performances Intrigue Nashville Audiences
June 8, 2016

Who would have ever thought a musical about urban planning could be as effective and engaging, and as thoroughly compelling (if somewhat confusing and confounding, by turns) as If/Then, the latest work from the Pulitzer Prize-winning (for next to normal) duo of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey?
BWW Review: Arts Center of Cannon County's ALWAYS, PATSY CLINEBWW Review: Arts Center of Cannon County's ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE
June 6, 2016

Savannah Gannon makes a startling - and, no doubt, star-making - debut as country music superstar Patsy Cline in the Matt Smith-directed production of Ted Swindley's play with music Always, Patsy Cline, now onstage at Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon County through June 18.
SUMMER STAGES: What's Hot In Nashville Theater in 2016SUMMER STAGES: What's Hot In Nashville Theater in 2016
June 6, 2016

Although the calendar tells us we're still in the spring season, things are quickly heating up in Nashville - theatrically speaking - and theater-goers have a plethora of shows coming up from which to choose, including some summer musicals that are sure to set feet a-tapping and a classic drama that's sure to provoke more thought and discussion than perhaps ever before.
Nashville's Theater Calendar 6/6/16Nashville's Theater Calendar 6/6/16
June 6, 2016

Summertime is here, what with Memorial Day and all that it encompasses, and we can think of no better seasonal activity than taking in some local theater. No matter where you are in the Volunteer State, Tennessee theater companies are ready and willing to help transport you to a different world, another time and place where your life can be is transformed magically on a stage very near you!
The Friday 5: THE LITTLE MERMAID's Hatty King and Brittany AndersenThe Friday 5: THE LITTLE MERMAID's Hatty King and Brittany Andersen
June 3, 2016

Nashville's Circle Players unveils the first regional production of The Little Mermaid, the new musical that's sure to be on virtually every stage in Middle Tennessee in the next year. Lipscomb Academy grad Hatty King takes on the role of Ariel, under the direction of Brittany Blaire Andersen, who makes her Circle Players directorial debut with the production.
The Friday 5: PATSY CLINE's Savanah Gannon and Mary Ellen SmithThe Friday 5: PATSY CLINE's Savanah Gannon and Mary Ellen Smith
June 3, 2016

Savannah Gannon and Mary Ellen Smith star in Arts Center of Cannon County's Always Patsy Cline, the award-winning play by Nashville's own Ted Swindley, opening tonight and running through June 18 in Woodbury. The show's a favorite among Tennessee theater-goers, and now's your chance to get to know director Matt Smith's two-woman cast who bring the show to life
The Friday 5: SPELLING BEE's Myers and PendergrastThe Friday 5: SPELLING BEE's Myers and Pendergrast
June 3, 2016

Opening tonight at Franklin's Pull-Tight Playhouse is the ever-popular The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by Brett Myers (who last year starred as Vice Principal Panch in Circle Players' production of the show) and starring Benjamin Pendergrast, who takes on the role of Panch in this production. Find out what makes these two talented men tick - why do they think you should come see their show - and then try to score some tickets as quickly as possible.
The Friday 5 (On Thursday): PSYCHO BEACH PARTY's Pitts and TurnerThe Friday 5 (On Thursday): PSYCHO BEACH PARTY's Pitts and Turner
June 2, 2016

The summer theater season in Nashville begins tonight with a revival of Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party, which turns the formulaic beach movie of the early 1960s on its ear with a skewed and definitely crazy take on the genre. Opening at the Darkhorse Theater - the latest offering from Bradley Moore's Music City Theatre Company - it features a talented cast bringing Busch's classically campy characters to life. Today, you can get to know Gerald Pitts and Elizabeth Turner better, just before calling to make reservations to see the show!
Nashville-Area Auditions Listings 5/31/16Nashville-Area Auditions Listings 5/31/16
May 31, 2016

Theaters and production companies throughout Middle Tennessee are looking for directors, crew members and cast members for several upcoming productions, includingPeter and the Starcatcher at Dickson's Renaissance Players, directed by Bradley Moore, and Circle Players' Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Jason Lewis.
Nashville's Theater Calendar 5/30/16Nashville's Theater Calendar 5/30/16
May 31, 2016

Summertime is here, what with Memorial Day and all that it encompasses, and we can think of no better seasonal activity than taking in some local theater. No matter where you are in the Volunteer State, Tennessee theater companies are ready and willing to help transport you to a different world, another time and place where your life can be is transformed magically on a stage very near you!
CRITIC'S CHOICE: The (Summer) Game's Afoot, Y'all!CRITIC'S CHOICE: The (Summer) Game's Afoot, Y'all!
May 27, 2016

Is it just me or is everyone else amazed by how quickly 2016 seems to be moving - in a theatrical sense, at least - and what with Memorial Day Weekend upon us, we're gobsmacked (gobsmacked, I tell ya!) by the wide range of productions offered up by Tennessee theater companies this weekend. Included are Street Theatre Company's Assassins, Center for the Arts' 42nd Street down in Murfreesboro, Rumors out at Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre and the final performance of The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers at Cumberland County Playhouse.


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