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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, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lipscomb University's Lacy HartselleCOLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lipscomb University's Lacy Hartselle
Posted: May. 5, 2015


COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: NYU's Lydia GraneredCOLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lydia Granered
Posted: Apr. 28, 2015


COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lipscomb's Rebekah StognerCollegiate Theatrics: BEKAH STOGNER
Posted: May. 19, 2015


CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening in Music City This Week?CRITICS' CHOICE: Music City Happenings
Posted: Apr. 28, 2015


THE FRIDAY 5 ON THURSDAY: Raymond McAnally of SIZE MATTERSTHE FRIDAY 5 ON THURSDAY: Raymond McAnally of SIZE MATTERS
Posted: Apr. 30, 2015


CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week?CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening
Posted: May. 12, 2015


Remembering The Grace and Talent of ARITA TRAHANRemembering The Grace and Talent of ARITA TRAHAN
Posted: May. 19, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: Hume-Fogg's Jessie GholsonHIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: Hume-Fogg's Jessie Gholson
Posted: Jan. 15, 2015


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


HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: MBA's Jess DarnellHIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: MBA's Jess Darnell
Posted: Dec. 11, 2014


COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Boston Conservatory's James Spencer DeanCollegiate Theatrics: James Spencer Dean
Posted: Jan. 20, 2015


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


Collegiate Theatrics: Emma Jordan of Wright State UniversityCollegiate Theatrics: Emma Jordan
Posted: Dec. 2, 2014


HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: Arden Taylor GuiceHigh School Drama: Arden Taylor Guice
Posted: Feb. 27, 2015


Geoff Davin's THE FIRST CHURCH OF MARY... Premieres Next WeekGeoff Davin's THE FIRST CHURCH OF MARY... Premieres Next Week
May 22, 2015

Subtitled 'a play about Faith, Narcissism, & Red Velvet Cake,' The First Church of Mary (which is how we will refer to it hereafter) allows Davin to don a wig and heels - 'yet again,' according to the show's press release - to play his newest creation Adamenses Huckster, the protagonist of his 'new play (with mus
CRITICS' CHOICE: Memorial Weekend's Best BetsCRITICS' CHOICE: Memorial Weekend's Best Bets
May 22, 2015

It's the official kick-off to summer, what with the Memorial Day Weekend upon us already - seriously, where did the time go? - and while we're certain your calendar is filled with cookouts, fireworks (we don't save all the sparklers for July 4th do we?) and swimming (if it warms up enough here in frosty Tennessee, where it's in the 50s as I type). But being the theatrical fanatic that we (using either the editorial "we" or the royal "we"just take your pick) are, we would like to humbly suggest you make your way to the theater in the next few days to get some artistic inspiration.
THE FRIDAY FIVE: STARLITE WALTZ's Brooke Gronemeyer & Morgan RobertsonTHE FRIDAY FIVE: STARLITE WALTZ's Brooke Gronemeyer & Morgan Robertson
May 22, 2015

Inspired by BroadwayWorld.com's Friday Six, welcome to BroadwayWorld Nashville's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find onstage throughout the Volunteer state. Today, we focus our virtual spotlight on Brooke Gronemeyer and Morgan Robertson, the stars of Starlite Waltz, the latest - and, unfortunately, last - production from GroundWorks Theatre, headed by artistic director Myra Stephens and managing director Jonathan Stephens, who took over the company from founders Sean and Bob O'Connell (2011 First Night Honorees).
THE FRIDAY FIVE: THE NINA VARIATIONS' Jaclynn Jutting & Justin HandTHE FRIDAY FIVE: THE NINA VARIATIONS' Jaclynn Jutting & Justin Hand
May 22, 2015

Inspired by BroadwayWorld.com's Friday Six, welcome to BroadwayWorld Nashville's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find onstage throughout the Volunteer state. Today, our spotlight focuses on Justin Hand, who plays Treplev, and director Jaclynn Jutting from Verge Theatre's production of Steven Dietz's The Nina Variations, opening tonight at Belmont's Black Box Theatre.
WOMEN'S WORK 2015: Marilyn Anselmi's MAMA'S GIRLSWOMEN'S WORK 2015: Marilyn Anselmi's MAMA'S GIRLS
May 21, 2015

Two of Nashville's best-known young actors, Lucy Turner and Paige Glasser, lead the cast of Mama's Girls - an original play by Marilyn Barner Anselmi, directed by Vickie Bailey - which is slated for a staged reading as part of Tennessee Women's Theater Project's Women's Work Festival this Friday night, May 22.
THE FRIDAY FIVE: Austin Olive & Amie Lara From Circle's SPELLING BEETHE FRIDAY FIVE: Austin Olive & Amie Lara From Circle's SPELLING BEE
May 21, 2015

With so many new productions bowing this week (hence, the Friday 5 on Thursday), the spotlight shines firston Austin Olive and Amie Lara from the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by the talented Joshua Waldrep, and opening tonight at Pearl Cohn Comprehensive High School. It's the last production of the 2014-15 - that's the 65th year - season of Circle Players, the oldest community theatre troupe in Middle Tennessee.
CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Coming Up This Week?CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Coming Up This Week?
May 19, 2015

It's been a busy spring in Tennessee and as we head into summer, you can rest assured that things are only going to get busier - and more interesting. Our advice? Hydrate yourself (drink plenty of water before heading out), dress comfortably (but tasteful) and head out for a night at the theater. You'll be inspired, entertained and possibly even transported to some far-away world of wonder and imagination.
Remembering The Grace and Talent of ARITA TRAHANRemembering The Grace and Talent of ARITA TRAHAN
May 19, 2015

Despite knowing that the time would come, I am still staggered by the news of Arita Trahan's passing last weekend. Although she had moved from Nashville some years back - living in Los Angeles and Philadelphia after leaving Tennessee - she always remained a member of our theater family, one of the leading lights among the scores of talented people who have called our city home over the years.
Hey, Jef, Here's My Headshot: JUSTIN BOYDHey, Jef, Here's My Headshot: JUSTIN BOYD
May 19, 2015

Today's actor/subject/model is the hardest working man in Nashville theater - or, at least, the busiest - Justin Boyd, who will be appearing as Van in ACT 1's production of Dog Sees God, directed by Jim Manning. His headshot is by photographer Megan Maddox.
COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lipscomb's Rebekah StognerCOLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Lipscomb's Rebekah Stogner
May 19, 2015

School's out for summer, but that doesn't mean that college theater students are lounging by the pool, waiting for their next big break. Rather, if you're someone like RebekahStogner, an acting/journalism major at Nashville's David Lipscomb University, chances are you're preparing for the next audition and getting ready for fall semester.
CRITICS CHOICE: Resistance is FutileCRITICS CHOICE: Resistance is Futile
May 15, 2015

The weekend is upon us, which means you have just a few hours to figure out a game plan so you don't miss out on all the fun that's happening all around you. We've got the goods on theatrical events this weekend, to save wear and tear on your brain, and we can offer some sound advice: Just do as we say and everything will be fine. Resistance is futile.
Photo Coverage: Melinda Doolittle Hosts 2015 NMTA at Lipscomb UniversityPhoto Coverage: Melinda Doolittle Hosts 2015 NMTA at Lipscomb University
May 13, 2015

Cookeville High School's production of West Side Story claimed top honors - the award for Best Show of 2014/15 - last Saturday at the second annual Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, presented at Lipscomb University's Collins Alumni Auditorium and hosted by Melinda Doolittle.
VWA Theatricals To Debut With THE LAST 5 YEARSVWA Theatricals To Debut With THE LAST 5 YEARS
May 12, 2015

VWA Theatricals, a Nashville-based theatrical production company, will make its official bow this summer with a production of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, set to play the iconic Darkhorse Theater in August.
CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week?CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week?
May 12, 2015

There always seems to be so much to do in Nashville, from a creative and theatrical standpoint, we're often asked for recommendations of what's not to be missed on our calendar. Well, have no fear, gentle readers, we're at your service, at the ready to tell you of the shows you really should see this week and in the coming weeks
HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: Shane KopischkeHIGH SCHOOL DRAMA: Shane Kopischke
May 11, 2015

But not all of our best-known teen actors are studying in the traditional secondary school manner. Today, we focus on Shane Kopischke, a 17-year-old rising high school senior who is home-schooled and currently celebrating his 11th year of doing stage productions.
Hey, Jef, Here's My Headshot: JOCELYN KASPERHey, Jef, Here's My Headshot: JOCELYN KASPER
May 8, 2015

Today's actor/subject/model is the charming, talented and oh-so-charming Jocelyn Kasper (photographed by Anthony Matula), who most recently appeared in the title role of The Drowsy Chaperone (aka Beatrice Stockwell) for Franklin's Pull-Tight Players. Next up for Jocelyn is a role in Blackbird Theatre Company's world premiere of their original musical Myth, written by Greg Greene and Wes Driver. After that, you can see her this fall in The Ghosts of Nashville, another original show.
CRITICS' CHOICE: This Weekend's Best BetsCRITICS' CHOICE: This Weekend's Best Bets
May 8, 2015

Of course, Nashville's Iroquois Steeplechase is Saturday (and despite weather forecasts to the contrary, chances are that means it's going to be raining), so when it comes time to dry off, we suggest you head to the theater, where there's all sorts of good stuff onstage.
BWW Reviews: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at TPACBWW Reviews: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at TPAC
May 7, 2015

Just in time for Mother's Day, Fabisch and her Faby Baby Productions LLC bring their rollicking and oh-so-entertaining revue, Motherhood the Musical, to TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre. Featuring dynamic direction by Kim Nygren and starring a quartet of winning singer/actresses, it's a superbly performed and staged show that pulls back the curtain on what moms talk about when the husbands, kids and in-laws (and gay BFFs) are away. It's heartwarming, laugh-out-loud funny and oftentimes remarkably sentimental without being mawkish or maudlin.
THE FRIDAY 5 ON WEDNESDAY: Focus on Motherhood the MusicalTHE FRIDAY 5 ON WEDNESDAY: Focus on Motherhood the Musical
May 6, 2015

Today, the spotlight shines on Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, Sue Fabisch, Jaclyn Lisenby Brown and Corrie Miller, the cast of director Kim Nygren's ensemble for Motherhood the Musical, opening tonight at TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre. Fabisch created the show, so let's hope she's happy with the way things are going
CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week in Music City?CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week in Music City?
May 5, 2015

Looking for something fun to do in Nashville this week? We have done the necessary legwork - we're all about saving you time and helping you make informed decisions about how to spend your entertainment dollar, after all - and we are delighted to present you with our newest edition of Critic's Choice, filled chock-a-block with all sorts of fun stuffenough to keep you off the streets and entertained until our Friday offerings come your way!


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