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, followed by Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will? and South Pacific.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

FRIDAY 5 (+1): The Leading Ladies of CFTA's 9 to 5: THE MUSICALFRIDAY 5 (+1): The Leading Ladies of CFTA's 9 to 5: THE MUSICAL
Posted: Feb. 10, 2017


BWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stirring and Staggering THE ELEPHANT MANBWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stirring and Staggering THE ELEPHANT MAN
Posted: Feb. 28, 2017


High School Drama: Hume-Fogg's ZACH TAYLORHigh School Drama: Hume-Fogg's ZACH TAYLOR
Posted: Feb. 28, 2017


Lori Fischer's GREENER PASTURES Debuts at Cumberland County Playhouse 3/10Lori Fischer's GREENER PASTURES Debuts at Cumberland County Playhouse 3/10
Posted: Feb. 28, 2017


Linda Speir Leads DADDY'S DYIN' Cast at The Keeton TheatreLinda Speir Leads DADDY'S DYIN' Cast at The Keeton Theatre
Posted: Mar. 6, 2017


Distraction Theatre Company Reveals Ambitious Second SeasonDistraction Theatre Company Reveals Ambitious Second Season
Posted: Feb. 28, 2017


FRIDAY 5 (+1): MY FAIR LADY at The Larry Keeton TheatreFRIDAY 5 (+1): MY FAIR LADY at The Larry Keeton Theatre
Posted: Feb. 15, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

Nashville's Historic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre Sold to New OwnerNashville's Historic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre Sold to New Owner
Posted: Dec. 28, 2016


BWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Colorful and Resplendent NASHVILLE'S NUTCRACKERBWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Resplendent NASHVILLE'S NUTCRACKER
Posted: Dec. 5, 2016


BWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stunning EVITA Makes History on Opening Night With Powerful PerformancesBWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stunning EVITA
Posted: Sep. 10, 2016


First Night's Top Ten of 2017 Announced in Music CityFirst Night's Top Ten of 2017 Announced in Music City
Posted: Dec. 28, 2016


@BWW_Nashville Twitter Held Hostage, Day 1: TORI KEENAN-ZELT@BWW_Nashville Twitter Held Hostage, Day 1: TORI KEENAN-ZELT
April 21, 2017

Playwright Tori Keenan-Zelt takes over BWW_Nashville's Twitter account today as she goes on a Playwright's Adventure in Music City, including the first rehearsal for Actors' Bridge's upcoming workshop production of her new play Seph, she mingles with the playwrights taking part in the Ingram New Works Project at Nashville Repertory Theatre and she sees the Actors Bridge/Belmont University Theatre collaboration on Jessica Dickey's The Amish Project.

High School Drama: Franklin Road Academy's MICAH FRIZZELLHigh School Drama: Franklin Road Academy's MICAH FRIZZELL
April 21, 2017

The calendar is fast approaching commencement season all over the country and seniors in high school theater programs are preparing for their final shows on their familiar stomping grounds - like Nashville's Franklin Road Academy senior Micah Frizzell. As he prepares to open tonight in director/educator Ross Bolen's musical update of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (he plays Don John), he's already looking ahead to next fall when he enrolls at Syracuse University as part of their group of 24 incoming freshmen for the BFA Musical Theater program.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 21, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 21, 2017
April 21, 2017

A big GOOD MORNING shout-out to today's eye-poppingly gorgeous cover models - the beautiful and talented Tosha Pendergrast and her equally dreamy husband Benjamin Pendergrast, who start off their morning by catching up on the latest theatrical dish while listening to the score of Legally Blonde, Tosha's next choreographic assignment for Pull-Tight Players before she heads off to teach dance, among other things, at Christ Presbyterian Academy.

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: DADDY'S DYIN'...WHO'S GOT THE WILL's Dunlop, Lewis and SpeirFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: DADDY'S DYIN'...WHO'S GOT THE WILL's Dunlop, Lewis and Speir
April 20, 2017

Those wacky denizens of Lowake, Texas - members of the Turnover clan - return to the stage tonight in search of their daddy's last will and testament in The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Del Shore's chicken-fried comedy Daddy's Dyin'Who's Got the Will? Running through May 6, the raucous, downhome comedy features a cast of Nashville favorites including Tonya Pewitt, Memory Strong-Smith, Natalie Royal Herb, Jonathan Hunter, Benny Jones, Linda Speir, Drew Dunlop and Natalie Lewis.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 20, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 20, 2017
April 20, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's a glorious new day - #TheatreThursday, in fact - there's a bright golden haze on the meadow and today we're posing this question: What's your favorite stage comedy? And why does it tickle your funny bone (and we don't mean that in a dirty way, so get your freakin' minds outta the gutter!)?Greetings to our two cover models: the always entertaining and intriguing Daron Bruce and Jennifer Richmond, all dressed up in their Easter finery to get their daily dose of theater chatter!

Analisa Leaming Comes Home to Mufreesboro for Monday Night ConcertAnalisa Leaming Comes Home to Mufreesboro for Monday Night Concert
April 19, 2017

Broadway star Analisa Leaming returns to her hometown of Murfreesboro next Monday night for a concert at First United Methodist Church to benefit the Ethos Youth Ensembles, a non-profit youth music education organization based in Rutherford County.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 19, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 19, 2017
April 19, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! And a gracious good morning toKate Adams Kramer, our very first Theaterati cover girl! Today we are pondering the theatrical question of 'Kevin Spacey...Tony Awards host...what the hell?' Perhaps you might opine about that bit of news and share your impressions with us: we promise not to tell a soul!

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 18, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 18, 2017
April 18, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! Welcome to my new daily whatever-the-hell you want to call it in which we consider the musical question: 'What's happening this week?'

Talking With...NICOLE VAN GIESEN About FUN HOME And Why It Matters So MuchTalking With...NICOLE VAN GIESEN About FUN HOME And Why It Matters So Much
April 17, 2017

During the 2017-18 season reveal gala at TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall last week, Nicole Van Giesen, a member of the show's original Broadway cast, was on hand to perform 'Telephone Wire' from the score by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron. The response to the announcement that Fun Home will play Nashville October 10-15 was enthusiastic - some might even have called it 'thunderous' - and the audience filled with theater lovers rewarded Van Giesen with warm, generous applause.

BWW Review: NSF & Lipscomb's Provocative Take on RICHARD IIBWW Review: NSF & Lipscomb's Provocative Take on RICHARD II
April 16, 2017

Carrie Brewer's fiery portrayal of the man who would ultimately become King Henry IV is certain to resonate with audiences for the compelling production of William Shakespeare's Richard II - onstage at Shamblin Theatre through April 23 in a joint production from Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University Theatre - especially in contrast to Caroline Amos' highly theatrical portrayal of the eponymous king whose indecision and lack of personal gravitas results in his ultimate demise.

BWW Review: Swafford's Overly Earnest CRAZY ALL THESE YEARSBWW Review: Swafford's Overly Earnest CRAZY ALL THESE YEARS
April 16, 2017

Strong performances from a quartet of Nashville actors and capable writing and direction by Jeff Swafford should be enough to create a compelling and engaging stage play. Unfortunately, those elements don't add up to what we'd hoped for in Woodland Entertainment's production of Crazy All These Years, onstage at Nashville's Darkhorse Theatre through next weekend.

Nashville Children's Theatre Reveals First Season Under Nolan's DirectionNashville Children's Theatre Reveals First Season Under Nolan's Direction
April 14, 2017

Nashville Children's Theatre (NCT) yesterday revealed its 2017-18 Season - its 86th season and its first under new executive artistic director Ernie Nolan - featuring three regional premieres and the return of a holiday season favorite by the late Scot Copeland, NCT's longtime producing artistic director, who led the company's rise to national prominence during his tenure.

It's Opening Day for Nashville Children's Theatre's GOODNIGHT MOONIt's Opening Day for Nashville Children's Theatre's GOODNIGHT MOON
April 13, 2017

Opening day is here: Everybody's favorite bedtime book is magically transformed into an imaginative, unforgettable theatrical experience as Goodnight Moon takes the stage at Nashville Children's Theatre April 13 through May 14.

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: CRAZY ALL THESE YEARS' Adcock, McCain, Richmond & WhitmoreFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: CRAZY ALL THESE YEARS' Adcock, McCain, Richmond & Whitmore
April 13, 2017

Opening tonight at Nashville's iconic Darkhorse Theater is multi-hyphenate Jeff Swafford's (he's a playwright-producer-filmmaker-director, among other things) play Crazy All These Years, which stars a cast of Nashville's best-known actors, including Jennifer Richmond, Michael Adock, Cinda McCain and Daniel Hackman.

Photo Coverage: Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University's All-Female RICHARD IIPhoto Coverage: Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University's All-Female RICHARD II
April 12, 2017

Nashville Shakespeare Festival continues its 2017 season with Richard II, a co-production with Lipscomb University, which will run from Thursday, April 13, through Sunday, April 23. The rarely-produced play features an all-female cast and will be performed at Lipscomb University's Shamblin Theatre. Photographer Kenn Stilger captured Tuesday night's dress rehearsal in the accompanying photographs.

Critic's Choice: Spring is Here...Dance Into The Theater This WeekendCritic's Choice: Spring is Here...Dance Into The Theater This Weekend
April 12, 2017

Spring is here! Why doesn't my heart go dancing? Well, Mr. Lorenz Hart, personally, we are too damn busy with creating the magic of live theater: We're directing a show (Daddy's Dyin'Who's Got the Will? opens next week - April 20 - at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson, thank you very much) and trying to make it out to see as much theater in Nashville as possible before old age takes its toll - it's tough out there for a theater critic!

Where Are They Now? CATHY STREETWhere Are They Now? CATHY STREET
April 12, 2017

In spring of 2016, Cathy and JJ Street pulled up roots in Nashville - a place they called home for 13 years - and moved eastward to Wilmington, North Carolina, leaving behind scores of friends who'd become like family to them and relinquishing the reins to Street Theatre Company to Jason Tucker, under whom the acclaimed theater company continues to thrive in Music City.

TPAC Launches 2017-18 Season With New Dan Fogelberg Musical PART OF THE PLANTPAC Launches 2017-18 Season With New Dan Fogelberg Musical PART OF THE PLAN
April 12, 2017

Fun Home, Waitress and An American in Paris headline the 2017-18 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC Series, which leads off with the world premiere of a new musical in development - Part of the Plan, an original musical written by Kate Atkinson and Karen Harris and featuring songs from the catalog of famed singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg.

Photo Coverage: CRAZY ALL THESE YEARSPhoto Coverage: CRAZY ALL THESE YEARS
April 10, 2017

Originally shot as a film featuring local actress Cinda McCain, Crazy All These Years is a poignant yet humorous look at life, death and the damage caused by running away from the past. This new drama, described as 'quiet and compelling,' focuses on Ben, a gay man who returns to his small Tennessee hometown to care for his cantankerous dying mother. As they struggle to understand one another, Ben must also examine his previous relationships and the broken hearts left in his wake.

BWW Review: Actors Bridge and Belmont Theatre Team Up for Provocative and Moving AMISH PROJECTBWW Review: Actors Bridge and Belmont Theatre Team Up for Provocative and Moving AMISH PROJECT
April 8, 2017

Actors Bridge Ensemble - Nashville's most forward-thinking and cutting-edge professional theater company - teams up once again with Belmont University Department of Theatre and Dance to celebrate their tenth anniversary as artistic collaborators with Jessica Dickey's The Amish Project, a moving and provocative presentation that allows the two companies' strengths to be fully on display, giving audiences much to consider in the post-show haze of introspection and remembrance.



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