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  and the Kander and Ebb classic Cabaret 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?South Pacific and Winter Wonderettes. He will direct Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes for ACT 1's 2017-18 season.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

High School Drama: Cookeville High Grad EMMA CHOATEHigh School Drama: Cookeville High Grad EMMA CHOATE
Posted: Jul. 18, 2017


BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Wows Nashville Audiences During Show's TPAC RunReview: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Wows Nashville Audiences
Posted: Jun. 29, 2017


BWW Review: Theater Bug's Funny and Wry New Musical IF I WERE YOUReview: Theater Bug's Funny & Wry New Musical IF I WERE YOU
Posted: Jul. 15, 2017


Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)
Posted: Jul. 20, 2017


2017 Sideshow Fringe Festival Gathers Hundreds of Local Artists in Largest Event Yet2017 Sideshow Fringe Festival
Posted: Jul. 12, 2017


ANNIE Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon County for July 7-22 RunANNIE Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon County
Posted: Jun. 29, 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


Cumberland County Playhouse Announces 2017 SeasonCumberland County Playhouse Announces 2017 Season
Posted: Dec. 3, 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


BWW Review: Woven Theatre's Exquisite and Enlightening SILENT SKYBWW Review: Woven Theatre's Exquisite and Enlightening SILENT SKY
July 24, 2017

Nashville audiences have become rather familiar with the work of Lauren Gunderson, the most produced living American playwright of the 2016-17 season, primarily due to works presented by Tennessee Women's Theater Project. Now, thanks to an impressive production of her Silent Sky, by Woven Theatre Company - as part of their inaugural Women Pioneer Series - we are introduced to another of her quintessentially intriguing and compelling women: Henrietta Leavitt, an American pioneer...

BWW Review: Destiny Theatre Experience's MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT Burns BrightBWW Review: Destiny Theatre Experience's MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT Burns Bright
July 22, 2017

Despite its provocative title and abundant profanity (or maybe even because of it), Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherf**ker With the Hat is actually filled with a lot of humanity and heart, enough that you'll find it difficult to shake off the story and its characters long after the final scene has played out. And thanks to director Kurt Jarvis' production for Destiny Theatre Experience's tenth anniversary, the Nashville debut will likely be talked about and recounted for months to come - which seems the perfect testament to the impact of Shawn Whitsell's company on Music City's vibrant arts and theater company.

ANNIE Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon County for July 7-22 RunANNIE Debuts at Arts Center of Cannon County for July 7-22 Run
July 22, 2017

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Hayes Hunter, with musical direction by Brittany Goodwin, Annie, the beloved musical about the plucky comic book heroine of the 1930s, comes to the Arts Center of Cannon County for a July 7-22 run.

Utech, McGraw and Wilkinson Star in Chaffin's Barn's SISTER ACTUtech, McGraw and Wilkinson Star in Chaffin's Barn's SISTER ACT
July 22, 2017

Meggan Utech and Gracie McGraw will make their Chaffin's Barn debuts this summer, joining Barn favorite Martha Wilkinson in Sister Act, the hilarious, five-time Tony Award-nominated musical, opening June 8 and running through July 22.

FRIDAY 5 (+1): THE MOTHERF*CKER WITH THE HAT Opens TonightFRIDAY 5 (+1): THE MOTHERF*CKER WITH THE HAT Opens Tonight
July 21, 2017

Shawn Whitsell's Destiny Theatre Experience celebrates its tenth anniversary starting tonight with the opening of Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherfucker With the Hat at Nashville's iconic Darkhorse Theater. Directed by Kurt Jarvis and featuring a cast of local stage favorites, along with some intriguing newcomers, including Michael Carlo, Megan Blevins, Matt N. Smith, Amie Lara and Tony Insignares.

Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)
July 20, 2017

Looking for a challenging role or to embark upon a new onstage adventure? Here is the latest audition information to come to the BroadwayWorld Nashville newsdesk.

Woven Theatre Premieres SILENT SKY at Belmont's Troutt Theatre TodayWoven Theatre Premieres SILENT SKY at Belmont's Troutt Theatre Today
July 21, 2017

Woven Theatre Company presents Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson, as part of their Women Pioneer Series, opening this Today, July 21, at Belmont University's Troutt Theatre. The Women Pioneer Series consists of plays about historically significant or under-recognized women, written by women.

SISTER ACT Set to Take Over Mainstage at Cumberland County Playhouse TodaySISTER ACT Set to Take Over Mainstage at Cumberland County Playhouse Today
July 21, 2017

Sister Act - the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that has proven to be a hit with audiences all across Tennessee - will open at Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse on July 21, running through September 8.

Friday 5 (+1) on Thursday: Seidl and Kummer's ACROSS THE LINESFriday 5 (+1) on Thursday: Seidl and Kummer's ACROSS THE LINES
July 20, 2017

Opening tonight in Gallatin is Scott Seidl and Stephen Kummer's Civil War musical Across the Lines, running through Saturday night at CenterStage, 250 Hancock Street. The new musical, based on a true story drawn from the letters of Captain Robert A. Ragan and his memoir Escape From East Tennessee to the Federal Lines, continues its development with the three performances which feature a cast of local artists who bring the various characters in the story to life.

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for July 19, 2017Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for July 19, 2017
July 19, 2017

Feeling the urge to let your imagination run wild, your spirit to soar or to just leave the world in which you live and go on an adventure? Sounds like a trip to the theater is in order! Luckily, companies all over the Volunteer State have been hard at work, creating new productions to transform and to transport, shows that will entertain you this summer.

Photo Coverage: Wild Card Productions' LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILLPhoto Coverage: Wild Card Productions' LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL
July 18, 2017

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, writer Lanie Robertson's insightful and moving look at jazz legend Billie Holiday and her life and career, continues its run at Brentwood's Towne Centre Theatre. Directed by Dave Ragland and starring Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva in her stunning onstage transformation to become Lady Day, it's one of the highlights of an especially impressive Nashville theater season filled with strong performances and shows both challenging and introspective.

THE DROWNING GIRLS Next Onstage for Distraction Theatre CompanyTHE DROWNING GIRLS Next Onstage for Distraction Theatre Company
July 18, 2017

Distraction Theatre Company brings The Drowning Girls written by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic to life August 18-26 at Nashville's Darkhorse Theater.

Woven Theatre Premieres SILENT SKY at Belmont's Troutt Theatre 7/21Woven Theatre Premieres SILENT SKY at Belmont's Troutt Theatre 7/21
July 18, 2017

Woven Theatre Company presents Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson, as part of their Women Pioneer Series, opening this Friday, July 21, at Belmont University's Troutt Theatre. The Women Pioneer Series consists of plays about historically significant or under-recognized women, written by women.

High School Drama: Cookeville High Grad EMMA CHOATEHigh School Drama: Cookeville High Grad EMMA CHOATE
July 18, 2017

t's been an exceptionally busy summer thus far for recent Cookeville High School graduate Emma Choate as she prepares to make the transition to college student at Tennessee Technological University in her hometown. Making the leap from high schooler to college student is a challenge, no matter who you are, but for Emma - who has been an over-achiever in live theater most of her life - it's probably made easier by her decision to remain at the local college, where she plans to major in vocal music education.

BWW Review: Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva's Dazzling and Stunning Billie Holiday Can't Be MissedBWW Review: Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva's Dazzling and Stunning Billie Holiday Can't Be Missed
July 17, 2017

Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva's miraculous transformation into music legend Billie Holiday may well be the performance of 2017, theater-wise, in a city where we revere and venerate our favorite vocalists. But in Music City, where live theater is often perceived as a mere afterthought by the entertainment establishment, oftentimes performances such as hers may be given short shrift, overlooked by the so-called powers-that-be whose tastes tend toward the middle of the road, pop-infused, sound-like-everyone else, cookie cutter variety of singers.

BWW Review: Theater Bug's Funny and Wry New Musical IF I WERE YOUBWW Review: Theater Bug's Funny and Wry New Musical IF I WERE YOU
July 15, 2017

Once again, Cori Laemmel and Laura Matula - along with their team of creative collaborators and their always surprising and courageous troupe of young actors at The Theater Bug - have achieved much with their latest original musical. If I Were You, which focuses on four young protagonists gives the youthful Theater Bug company of actors an opportunity to explore the depths of their own emotions amid the turmoil of their formative years and, in so doing, they give every audience member a chance to examine their own emotions and preconceived notions of the people around them.

2017 Sideshow Fringe Festival Gathers Hundreds of Local Artists in Largest Event Yet2017 Sideshow Fringe Festival Gathers Hundreds of Local Artists in Largest Event Yet
July 12, 2017

Seventh Annual Sideshow Fringe Festival - billed as Nashville's Progressive Performing Arts Event, presented by Sideshow @ Actors Bridge - gathers hundreds of local artists for what promises to be its largest endeavor in its seven-year history. Sideshow Fringe runs July 27 through August 6 at various Nashville locales.

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for July 12, 2017Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for July 12, 2017
July 12, 2017

Feeling the urge to let your imagination run wild, your spirit to soar or to just leave the world in which you live and go on an adventure? Sounds like a trip to the theater is in order! Luckily, companies all over the Volunteer State have been hard at work, creating new productions to transform and to transport, shows that will entertain you this summer. That's where THE NASHVILLE THEATER CALENDAR comes in handy: Peruse our listings every week to find out what shows you should see!

THE FANTASTICKS Ushers In Pull-Tight Players' 2017-18 SeasonTHE FANTASTICKS Ushers In Pull-Tight Players' 2017-18 Season
July 8, 2017

One of the world's best-known and longest-runnng musicals - The Fantasticks by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt - ushers in the 2017-18 season at Franklin's Pull-Tight Theatre in a new production helmed by director Pat Street, running August 11-26.

SISTER ACT Set to Take Over Mainstage at Cumberland County Playhouse 7/21SISTER ACT Set to Take Over Mainstage at Cumberland County Playhouse 7/21
July 8, 2017

Sister Act - the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that has proven to be a hit with audiences all across Tennessee - will open at Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse on July 21, running through September 8.



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