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

Nashville's Best Honored at Midwinter's First NightNashville's Best Honored at Midwinter's First Night
Posted: Jan. 11, 2016

Collegiate Theatrics: Millikin University's JOSEPH J. BEZENEKCollegiate Theatrics: Millikin University's JOSEPH J. BEZENEK
Posted: Jan. 12, 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


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

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

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

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Marymount Manhattan's Blake MarshallCOLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Marymount Manhattan's Blake Marshall
Posted: Feb. 10, 2015

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'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.
Nottage's LAS MENINAS Opens 2/19 At Troutt TheatreNottage's LAS MENINAS Opens 2/19 At Troutt Theatre
February 3, 2016

Jaclynn Jutting directs Belmont University's Department of Theatre and Dance's spring semester-opening production of Lynn Nottage's Las Meninas, a play they contend will 'grab the attention of any audience member, of any background, opening February 19 at Belmont's Troutt Theatre.
Ginger Newman Stars in SUNSET BOULEVARDGinger Newman Stars in SUNSET BOULEVARD
February 3, 2016

2014 First Night Honoree and one of Nashville's most acclaimed actresses, cabaret artists and music directors Ginger Newman is ready for [her] close-up, as Norma Desmond in The Larry Keeton Theatre puts the finishing touches on their upcoming production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Sunset Boulevard.
Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'Theater Family Mourns the Passing of 'BROTHER RON'
February 1, 2016

Members of the theater family flung far and wide - or at least as far as trains, planes, ships and automobiles can take them - are mourning the sudden passing last Friday of Ron McIntyre Fender, the man known as the "Saint of Chattanooga" for his efforts on behalf of the homeless and beloved by theater folk all over the world for his warm, welcoming and abiding friendship from his days as an actor, director, stage manager, company manager and artistic director.
Nashville Theater Calendar 2/1/16Nashville Theater Calendar 2/1/16
February 1, 2016

Thus, we are happy to present one of our most popular features: The Nashville Theater Calendar, a comprehensive - maybe even exhaustive (lord knows we're exhausted from putting it together, gathering all the info from all over the interwebs!) - listing of theatrical openings for the 2015/16 season. We'll update the calendar every Monday, clearing out the shows that have closed and adding additional information on the shows still to come
BWW Review: The Collective's SHOWSTOPPERSBWW Review: The Collective's SHOWSTOPPERS
January 30, 2016

There's nothing like a good musical revue - replete with well-chosen songs, performed by a talented coterie of professional performers who are ably supported by a cast of fresh-faced youngsters showing off their burgeoning talents in concert with their more seasoned counterparts - and The Collective (Nashville's newest theatrical endeavor aka The Music City Theatre Collective) certainly delivers the goods with the debut of Showstoppers, presented this weekend at St. Philip's Episcopal Church's Dimmick Hall in Donelson.
January 29, 2016

Succinctly put, Susannah Smith White is a force of nature, the total embodiment of the adage about 'great things coming in small packages.' In fact, if the phrase hadn't become a cliche so long before her birth, I'd wager it was first uttered with her in mind.
BWW Review: Theater Bug's 7 WAYS TO SUNDAYBWW Review: Theater Bug's 7 WAYS TO SUNDAY
January 29, 2016

Dealing with the heretofore difficult to discuss subjects of teenaged depression and suicide, 7 Ways to Sunday opens up a necessary dialogue that is sure to save lives (regardless of how melodramatic that sounds, could one come to any other realization after experiencing the altogether life-changing events depicted in the musical?) thanks to the brutal - yet somehow funny, moving and totally affecting - truths expressed in the latest work from Laemmel, Fritsch and the other artists who call The Theater Bug home.
BWW Review: MATILDA THE MUSICAL Dazzles in NashvilleBWW Review: MATILDA THE MUSICAL Dazzles in Nashville
January 28, 2016

Can there be a better way to capture Matilda's spirit so evocatively than in a sparkling new work for the musical theater? A musical journey through which we can chart her soulful, heartfelt ascent into a literary hierarchy in which readers can live vicariously? Matilda's forays into a fictional world of devil-may-care adventure, oftentimes aided by her gift for telekinesis or her penchant for clever tricks (like switching her father's hair oil with her mother's peroxide) - which is at once darker than other offerings of like ilk, yet somehow rather more confectionary than even the fluffiest of musical comedies - lend themselves exquisitely to Matilda the Musical, the critically lauded stage extravaganza that is somehow effervescently uplifting while remaining grounded.
Music City Theatre Collective Launches With SHOWSTOPPERSMusic City Theatre Collective Launches With SHOWSTOPPERS
January 26, 2016

Music City Theatre Collective - the brainchild of Nashville artists Curtis Reed, Jenny Norris-Light, Chase Miller and Martha Wilkinson, among others - will launch its highly anticipated and rather unique company this weekend with a series of performances designed to highlight the Collective's upcoming endeavors.