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. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre 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, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.

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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'
Posted: Feb. 1, 2016


BWW Review: Theater Bug's 7 WAYS TO SUNDAYBWW Review: Theater Bug's 7 WAYS TO SUNDAY
Posted: Jan. 29, 2016


This Dancer's Life: EVERETT TARLTONThis Dancer's Life: EVERETT TARLTON
Posted: Feb. 4, 2016


Women in Theatre: DENICE HICKS as King LearWomen in Theatre: DENICE HICKS as King Lear
Posted: Jan. 21, 2016


Collegiate Theatrics: USC's ADAM LEBOWITZ-LOCKARDCollegiate Theatrics: USC's ADAM LEBOWITZ-LOCKARD
Posted: Feb. 4, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

On The Road to Oz With MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERSMegan Murphy Chambers On the Road to Oz
Posted: Jun. 11, 2015


BWW Reviews: Studio Tenn's THE WIZARD OF OZBWW Reviews: Studio Tenn's THE WIZARD OF OZ
Posted: Jun. 15, 2015


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


Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'
Posted: Feb. 1, 2016


CRITICS' CHOICE: Get Some Southern HospitalityCRITICS' CHOICE: Southern Hospitality
Posted: Jun. 12, 2015


COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: University of Evansville's Rachel WoodsCOLLEGIATE THEATRICS: University of Evansville's Rachel Woods
Posted: Feb. 17, 2015


Rex Directs ALL MY SONS as Lakewood's 2016 Season ContinuesRex Directs ALL MY SONS as Lakewood's 2016 Season Continues
February 12, 2016

Written in 1947 - and inspired by events of World War II and the true-life story of a woman who alerted authorities to her father's wartime wrong-doing - All My Sons focuses on the story of a businessman who once narrowly avoided financial ruin by shipping cracked machine parts to the military. He blames his business partner and builds an empire, but eventually his crime comes back to haunt him in Miller's riveting play, which is now considered a modern American classic.
The Friday 5: CFTA's DREAMGIRLS' Leading LadiesThe Friday 5: CFTA's DREAMGIRLS' Leading Ladies
February 12, 2016

Doubtless, there's a lot of hustling, bustling and what-not going on at Murfreesboro's Center For The Arts today as the company prepares for tonight's premiere of the musical extravaganza Dreamgirls. Directed by 2013 First Night Most Promising Actor Matthew Hayes Hunter (who may or may not answer to the name of "Matt" these days), the grand-scale production features four of the loveliest, most talented and mesmerizing leading ladies to be found on any stage, anywhere: Ra'Shaun Simon (playing Deena Jones), Brianna Booker (Lorell Robinson), Brittany Easley (Michelle Morris) and Robbyn "Vyrgo" Daniel, who plays the clarion-voiced Effie Melody White, the part made famous on Broadway by Jennifer Holliday.
The Friday 5: GOOD MONSTERS' Nate EpplerThe Friday 5: GOOD MONSTERS' Nate Eppler
February 12, 2016

Nate Eppler is, arguably, the best playwright now pursuing his art in Nashville - and with his latest work, Good Monsters, opening tomorrow night at TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre, he finds himself squarely back in the spotlight. It is, after all, the world premiere production of his newest, perhaps most controversial and provocative, play.
Nashville Ballet's ATTITUDE Dances Onstage This WeekendNashville Ballet's ATTITUDE Dances Onstage This Weekend
February 12, 2016

Nashville Ballet's acclaimed Attitude series will shake up its annual performance - slated for this weekend at TPAC's James K. Polk Theatre - to feature a collaboration with Music City's world-famous Bluebird Cafe for a unique series of dances.
CFTA's DREAMGIRLS Opening Night Set for Today TodayCFTA's DREAMGIRLS Opening Night Set for Today Today
February 12, 2016

Dreamgirls the Tony Award- and Oscar-winning musical by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Tom Eyen opens at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts this Today night, running February 12 through Sunday, February 28.
Nashville Ballet's ATTITUDE Dances Onstage This WeekendNashville Ballet's ATTITUDE Dances Onstage This Weekend
February 10, 2016

Nashville Ballet's acclaimed Attitude series will shake up its annual performance - slated for this weekend at TPAC's James K. Polk Theatre - to feature a collaboration with Music City's world-famous Bluebird Cafe for a unique series of dances.
Street Theatre Company 11th Season Opens with IN THE HEIGHTSStreet Theatre Company 11th Season Opens with IN THE HEIGHTS
February 10, 2016

Nashville's Street Theatre Company launches its 11th season with Lin Manuel Miranda's Tony Award-winning In The Heights, the smash musical that took Broadway by storm and paved the way for Miranda's new Broadway blockbuster Hamilton. Directed by STC founding artistic director Cathy Sanborn Street, In The Heights, running March 4-20, will be her farewell production in Nashville as she and her husband, JJ Street - an integral member of the theater's creative team since its beginnings - move to Wilmington, North Carolina in March.
CFTA's DREAMGIRLS Opening Night Set for Friday 2/12CFTA's DREAMGIRLS Opening Night Set for Friday 2/12
February 10, 2016

Dreamgirls the Tony Award- and Oscar-winning musical by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Tom Eyen opens at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts this Friday night, running February 12 through Sunday, February 28.
Collegiate Theatrics: USC's SALOME MERGIACollegiate Theatrics: USC's SALOME MERGIA
February 10, 2016

Here is your opportunity to get to know USC's Salome Mergia in this week's edition of Collegiate Theatrics. Miraculously, it would seem, she found time to sit down and consider our questions - and to offer some elucidating answers - about her time at USC and how her experiences there have prepared her for the future
Metro Parks, The Collective Join Forces for Upcoming ClassesMetro Parks, The Collective Join Forces for Upcoming Classes
February 9, 2016

Metro Parks' Theatre Program will host several classes and workshops for interested students ages 9 to 17 this spring, leading up to this summer's co-production with Music City Theatre Collective of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! at the Centennial Park band shell.
Upcoming Auditions in Nashville: NOVEMBER, BASKERVILLE and moreUpcoming Auditions in Nashville: NOVEMBER, BASKERVILLE and more
February 9, 2016

Directors and producers throughout Middle Tennessee are seeking actors for upcoming productions of David Mamet's November (from BWW Nashville Award-winning KB Productions), Gruesome Playground Injuries (coming up as this year's production from Nashville Repertory Theatre's interns) and Dickson's Gaslight Dinner Theater is looking for someone to play the iconic Sherlock Holmes in the regional premiere of Baskerville, a new Ken Ludwig comedy. We've gathered the details together here to make your planning easier. So now you have no excuse: go follow your dream!
Nashville Theater Calendar 2/8/16Nashville Theater Calendar 2/8/16
February 8, 2016

Sometimes it seems there is so much theater happening that it's difficult to keep track of it all. From personal experience, despite all the datebooks, smart phones, tablets, desktop computers and laptops...it's hard to keep everything straight in this wacky business of the show.
TWTP Launches 2016 With Lauren Gunderson's EMILIE...TWTP Launches 2016 With Lauren Gunderson's EMILIE...
February 8, 2016

Evelyn O'Neal Brush stars in the title role of Lauren Gunderson's Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight, as Tennessee Women's Theater Project continues its ninth season of provocative professional theater with the Tennessee premiere of Gunderson's play. The production opens at Nashville's Z. Alexander Looby Theater onFebruary 19, running weekends throughMarch 6.
BWW Review: Towne Centre's BLACK TIE BROADWAYBWW Review: Towne Centre's BLACK TIE BROADWAY
February 6, 2016

Luckily, for audiences of Towne Centre Theatre's 2016 season-opening Black Tie Broadway, an original revue conceived by director/arranger John Ray, they are offered two hours of entertainment given a luxe treatment by a 13-member cast who are having a swell time singing the best of musical theater. Consistent and confident, Ray's cast bring a plethora of showtunes to the stage of the Brentwood theater - some you'll remember from the very first note, others you may be hearing for the first time.
BWW Review: The Gaslight's IF THE SHOE FITSBWW Review: The Gaslight's IF THE SHOE FITS
February 5, 2016

No matter how hackneyed and corny the script, if you have an experienced ensemble of actors who are adept at physical comedy, who have perfected their timing through years onstage and who are relatively fearless in their approach to a script (any script, most likely), chances are you can deliver a show that audiences will find delightful. That's certainly the case with If The Shoe Fits, the comedy now onstage through February 13 at Gaslight Dinner Theatre, the company in residence at Freed Hardeman University's Renaissance Center in Dickson.
This Dancer's Life: EVERETT TARLTONThis Dancer's Life: EVERETT TARLTON
February 4, 2016

Make no mistake about it: There is absolutely no way to avoid instantly liking Everett Tarlton - it's useless to even try. In fact, resistance is futile. The boy possesses so much innate charm that anyone - whether you're a director, a choreographer, an actor or even a critic - simply cannot resist him. And audiences? Those poor souls have no hope whatsoever.
Collegiate Theatrics: USC's ADAM LEBOWITZ-LOCKARDCollegiate Theatrics: USC's ADAM LEBOWITZ-LOCKARD
February 4, 2016

Theater's next generation of actors will come from all over the globe, to be certain, but one might find an impressive concentration of artists on the campus of the University of Southern California, where the list of candidates for the Master of Fine Arts in acting rivals any group to be found anywhere. Take Adam Lebowitz-Lockard, for example. A native of Philadelphia, he was an English major at Boston University and he boasts a noteworthy resume of onstage assignments all over the country that other young actors might envy.
'Awkward Conversation' with SOMETHING ROTTEN's Wayne Kirkpatrick'Awkward Conversation' with SOMETHING ROTTEN's Wayne Kirkpatrick
February 3, 2016

Wayne Kirkpatrick - the award-winning, chart-topping songwriter, one of the co-creators of the Tony Award-winning Something Rotten on Broadway, and the recipient of a special 2015 First Night Honor - will be in the spotlight today night, February 4, at Lipscomb University during An Awkward Conversation With Wayne Kirkpatrick.
Baker Leads Blackbird/LU Production of THE CRUCIBLEBaker Leads Blackbird/LU Production of THE CRUCIBLE
February 3, 2016

The Crucible, Arthur Miller's incisive drama about the Salem Witchcraft Trials - written during the turbulent times of the Hollywood Red Scare and the oppression of the McCarthy era in American politics - premieres at Lipscomb University's Shamblin Theatre for a February 19-28 run in a joint production of Blackbird Theater and Lipscomb University Department of Theatre.
FROG & TOAD Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon CountyFROG & TOAD Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon County
February 3, 2016

Arnold Lobel's beloved characters hop from page to stage February 13 and 20 as The Arts Center of Cannon County presented A Year With Frog and Toad, the Tony Award-nominated musical with book and lyrics by Willie Reale and music by Robert Reale.


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