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

BWW Review: BUMT's Rollicking 9 to 5: THE MUSICAL Gives Dolly Her DueReview: BUMT's Rollicking 9 to 5: THE MUSICAL Gives Dolly Her Due
Posted: Mar. 27, 2017


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


Where Are They Now? KATIE CALLAWAYWhere Are They Now? KATIE CALLAWAY
Posted: Mar. 31, 2017


Nashville Children's Theatre Reveals First Season Under Nolan's DirectionNashville Children's Theatre Reveals 2017-18 Season
Posted: Apr. 14, 2017


BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Passionate RAISIN IN THE SUNReview: Nashville Rep's Passionate RAISIN IN THE SUN
Posted: Mar. 27, 2017


High School Drama: Franklin Road Academy's MICAH FRIZZELLHigh School Drama: Franklin Road Academy's MICAH FRIZZELL
Posted: Apr. 21, 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


PETER AND THE STARCATCHER Next Up at Arts Center of Cannon CountyPETER AND THE STARCATCHER Next Up at Arts Center of Cannon County
May 27, 2017

Tara Winton directs, as Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon County presents Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, with music by Wayne Barker. Opening Friday night, June 2, it runs through June 11.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 26, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 26, 2017
May 26, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! Welcome to the start of Memorial Day Weekend: It's Friday, May 26, 2017 and time to live life dramatically! It really sounds like we should be cutting a ribbon somewhere to herald the start of the long weekend that kicks off summer, but instead we sit here in front of a computer screen, remembering and reminiscing, in hopes of providing you with something to read while you sit by the pool, waiting for the SPF37 to kick in!

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? THE NASHVILLE THEATER CALENDAR 5/26/17Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? THE NASHVILLE THEATER CALENDAR 5/26/17
May 25, 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!

Jason Lewis Directs REEFER MADNESS To Close Out ACT 1's SeasonJason Lewis Directs REEFER MADNESS To Close Out ACT 1's Season
May 25, 2017

Jason Lewis directs the regional premiere of Reefer Madness the Musical to close out ACT 1's 2016-17 season, opening June 9. A musical satire based on the 1936 cult film classic, Reefer Madness the Musical opened in Los Angeles in 1998. The book and lyrics were written by Kevin Murphy with music by Dan Studney.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 25, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! Welcome to Thursday, May 25, 2017! So, here's the thing: We're up far earlier every morning than we'd actually choose to be, given the choice, and today we were lost in slumber, having a really terrific and very intriguing dream - I was in Louisville with my best pal Patrick Wilson.

BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Captivates NashvilleBWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Captivates Nashville
May 24, 2017

Carole King is an American treasure: a singer/songwriter of much renown, she possesses the showbiz bona fides that place her among the highest echelons of creative endeavor and for more than 50 years, she has provided the soundtrack for the lives of so many of us that you can't help but be caught up in an emotional fervor of remembrance and revelry when you hear one of her hit songs.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 24, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's Wednesday, May 24, 2017! How do we know this, you might ask? Well, we spent last evening at TPAC'S Andrew Jackson Hall, soaking up every possible bit of Carole King: The Beautiful Musical - wait, it's the other way around - Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and despite the earworm known as 'One Fine Day,' we are still floating on the inspiration and memories of opening night.

WIZARD OF OZ Leads Off Season 35 at Roxy Regional TheatreWIZARD OF OZ Leads Off Season 35 at Roxy Regional Theatre
May 23, 2017

Clarksville's Roxy Regional Theatre unveiled its upcoming 'Season 35: Discover the World Behind the Curtain' at a fundraiser last Friday evening at the home of arts supporters Mark, Ricki, John Mark and Will Holleman.

BWW Review: A SECOND HELPING at Cumberland County PlayhouseBWW Review: A SECOND HELPING at Cumberland County Playhouse
May 23, 2017

You might be surprised by this, but A Second Helping, the musical now onstage through the weekend at Cumberland County Playhouse' Adventure Theatre, has more in common with The Godfather, Part II than you might expect. Both of them, as sequels to the original material that spawned them, do something sequels usually are incapable of: They're better than their precursors.

High School Drama: Hillsboro High's ASHTON HARRISHigh School Drama: Hillsboro High's ASHTON HARRIS
May 23, 2017

Winner of the 2016 Nashville High School Musical Theatre Award (which in 2017 became known as The Spotlight Awards) as best actor in a musical, Ashton Harris is yet another starring light in Kristin Moon and Will Butler's company of outstanding young actors at Hillsboro High School.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 23, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's Tuesday, May 23, 2017, and we are all so very lucky to be alive and to be engaged in the creation of live theater - in Tennessee, no less - with the ability to live life dramatically and to reflect on the world around us. And what a world it is: Last night, people in Nashville were exultantthe Nashville Predators won the Western Conference Playoffs to advance to the Stanley Cup Final of the National Hockey League!

BWW Review: Cumberland County Playhouse's Magnificent MILLION DOLLAR QUARTETBWW Review: Cumberland County Playhouse's Magnificent MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
May 22, 2017

Ross Griffin's dramatically flamboyant portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in Cumberland County Playhouse's magnificent production of the Tony Award-winning Million Dollar Quartet would be reason enough to buy a ticket to see the fast-moving, tune-filled salute to one of music's most legendary nights that didn't end up with some star dying in a plane crash or surviving a car wreck.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! According to my iPhone today is Monday, 22 May 2017 - the weekend, busy as it was, is over and we're left hankering for a few days off in order to relax and rejuvenatewhich makes us ponder this musical question: What are your plans for next weekend? In our mind, of course, our mama is warning us that such queries are symptomatic of us 'wishing [our] life away,' as she would always admonish us to live in the now instead of trying to leap-frog over the next five days. So sayeth my beloved mama: 'Live life dramatically.' Therefore, a nap might have to suffice

Thank You, Places...Production Stage Manager CECILIA LIGHTHALLThank You, Places...Production Stage Manager CECILIA LIGHTHALL
May 22, 2017

Today, we introduce you to PSM Cecilia Lighthall, one of Tennessee's finest: My first SM assignment in college was Selkie. I had been an ASM before that. But, that was my first one as lead. My first professional show was Cabaret at Chaffin's Barn in 2004. My most recent show was Posterity with Nashville Repertory Theatre.

Utech, McGraw and Wilkinson Star in Chaffin's Barn's SISTER ACTUtech, McGraw and Wilkinson Star in Chaffin's Barn's SISTER ACT
May 19, 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.

High School Drama: Siegel High's Spotlight Award-nominated CALEB MITCHELLHigh School Drama: Siegel High's Spotlight Award-nominated CALEB MITCHELL
May 19, 2017

The role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty-Terrance McNally musical Ragtime is one coveted by actors of all ages - not the least of whom is Siegel High School student Caleb Mitchell, who took on the challenge of bringing the character to life in his school's production of the show earlier this spring. And for his efforts, Mitchell was one of three finalists for The Spotlight Award, the culmination of the 2016-17 Nashville High School Music Theatre Awards.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 19, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! Down in the right-hand corner of my computer screen, it tells me that its Friday, May 19 - which means that Memorial Day Weekend is just a week away! - how in the world did we make it from New Year's Day to Memorial Day in what seems to me to be like 15 minutes? When you figure that out, please give me a heads-up so I can better prepare for Christmas shopping! And that, of course, has me wondering what shows we'll be seeing during the next holiday season which, in turn, prompts me to ask the musical question: What's your favorite Christmas or holiday-themed stage offering?

High School Drama: Lipscomb Academy's Spotlight Award-Winning HATTY KINGHigh School Drama: Lipscomb Academy's Spotlight Award-Winning HATTY KING
May 18, 2017

It's been a big week for Lipscomb Academy's Hatty King - last Saturday night, she had the honor of performing on the stage of Andrew Jackson Hall at Tennessee Performing Arts Center and then was presented the Spotlight Award as best actress at the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards - and her summer is shaping up to be even more than thatas she heads to New York City to spend a week working the best and brightest of Broadway stars and young aspiring musical theater actors from all over the country as they vie for top honors at The Jimmy Awards.

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 18, 2017GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! Welcome to Thursday, May 18, 2017It's #TheatreThursday! which begs the question: How do you propose to live life dramatically? And, while we're on the subject, what shows are on your agenda this weekend? Let us know what you plan to see and what led you to make your choice! We'll pass the word along to the powers-that-be!

Thank You, Places...Production Stage Manager SHANNON SPENCERThank You, Places...Production Stage Manager SHANNON SPENCER
May 18, 2017

What's a stage manager? What do they do? What's their job? Seriously. Perhaps no job in the theater is as hard to define as that of a production stage manager and it's that blend of mystery, fear and total dependence that makes actors, directors, crew members, producers - you name it! - hold a really great stage manager in total awe and to revile someone who is (how do you say it, without offending anyone?) less than stellar in their position?



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