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 35 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. Since 2015, Ellis has been increasingly in demand as a director by a variety of Tennessee theater companies and he has helmed productions of Picnic (Circle Players), The Last Five Years (VWA Theatricals), The Miss Firecracker Contest, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will?, South Pacific and Winter Wonderettes (The Larry Keeton Theatre) and The Little Foxes (ACT 1). He will be directing the first production of Mart Crowley's updated script for The Boys in the Band since its Broadway revival for his eponymous Jeffrey Ellis Presents... production company. In 2019, Ellis will direct Singin' in the Rain (Arts Center of Cannon County), The Wizard of Oz (The Larry Keeton Theatre) and The Secret Garden (Center for the Arts, Murfreesboro). He is also slated to direct the world premiere production of Chambers Stevens' newest play, Waking Up Naked in 2019.




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: CFTA's NEWSIES was Swell, But May We Have a Respite Now?Review: CFTA's NEWSIES was Swell, But May We Have a Respite Now?
Posted: Jan. 30, 2019


BWW Review: A BRONX TALE Gets A Warm Welcome At Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts CenterReview: A BRONX TALE Gets A Warm Welcome At Nashville's TPAC
Posted: Feb. 13, 2019


BWW Review: Nashville Story Garden's Stunning IRONBOUND Closes All-Too-Brief Run TonightReview: Nashville Story Garden's Stunning IRONBOUND Closes Tonight
Posted: Feb. 2, 2019


Third Annual WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Saturday at KST Studio of VoiceThird WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Saturday at KST Studio of Voice
Posted: Feb. 6, 2019


BWW Review: KISS ME, KATE Audiences Are 'So In Love' With Chaffin's Barn's Stunning RevivalReview: KISS ME, KATE Audiences Are 'So In Love' With Chaffin's Barn's Revival
Posted: Feb. 15, 2019


SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Opens the 2019 Season at Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon CountySINGIN' IN THE RAIN Opens 2019 Season at Arts Center of Cannon County
Posted: Jan. 26, 2019


LAST 365 DAYS

The Man Behind the Mask: Quentin Oliver Lee of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERAThe Man Behind the Mask: THE PHANTOM's Quentin Oliver Lee
Posted: Oct. 19, 2018


BWW Review: Spectacular Cast Gives Chaffin's Barn's NEWSIES A Fresh AppealReview: Spectacular Cast Gives Barn's NEWSIES Fresh Appeal
Posted: Sep. 22, 2018


BWW Review: Studio Tenn's New FRANKENSTEIN Is Mesmerizing and StartlingReview: Studio Tenn's Mesmerizing New FRANKENSTEIN
Posted: Sep. 4, 2018


First Night's Top Ten of 2018 Announced in Nashville TonightFirst Night's Top Ten of 2018 Announced in Nashville Tonight
Posted: Dec. 10, 2018


BWW Review: Chaffin's Barn Re-opens With Habit-Forming SISTER ACTBWW Review: Chaffin's Barn Re-opens With Habit-Forming SISTER ACT
Posted: Aug. 6, 2018


BWW Review: Starmaking Performances Lead Belmont University's Exhilarating ON THE TOWNReview: Starmaking Performances in Belmont's ON THE TOWN
Posted: Mar. 21, 2018


BWW Review: KISS ME, KATE Audiences Are 'So In Love' With Chaffin's Barn's Stunning Revival
February 15, 2019

Crafting a musical theater hit is a lot like alchemy - the ancient study focused primarily on creating gold from baser elements - and oftentimes no matter the ingredients, directors never quite achieve the outcome for which they strive. But in the case of director/choreographer Everett Tarlton's production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate (now onstage at Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre through March 7), he has crafted something so special that it essentially defines the theatrical gold standard.

BWW Review: A BRONX TALE Gets A Warm Welcome At Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center
February 13, 2019

No doubt about it, A Bronx Tale - the musical version of Chazz Palminteri's original 1989 one man show (he played some 18 characters in the original work) that ultimately led to a 1993 film directed by Robert DeNiro - is one engaging night of theater, telling an intriguing story of a boy who grows to manhood on the mean streets of The Bronx, in the shadow of local wiseguy/mob kingpin Sonny, played here by Joe Barbara with chilling authenticity and palpable, if oily, charm.

Joey Barreiro Returns to Nashville as Star of the National Tour of A BRONX TALE
February 12, 2019

It's a homecoming of sorts for Joey Barreiro this week as he and his castmates from the national tour of A Bronx Tale - the Broadway musical that's based on a one-man show created by actor/writer Chazz Palminteri - encamp at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center for a week-long stand.

Third Annual WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Today at KST Studio of Voice
February 9, 2019

KST Studio of Voice - the creative brainchild of acclaimed concert, opera and musical theater soprano Katherine Sandoval Taylor - will host its annual Winter Showcase this Today night, February 9, at 7 p.m. at Washington Theatre at Murfreesboro's Patterson Park.

Third Annual WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Saturday at KST Studio of Voice
February 6, 2019

KST Studio of Voice - the creative brainchild of acclaimed concert, opera and musical theater soprano Katherine Sandoval Taylor - will host its annual Winter Showcase this Saturday night, February 9, at 7 p.m. at Washington Theatre at Murfreesboro's Patterson Park.

BWW Review: ABIGAIL'S PARTY is One Drinks Party You Simply Cannot Miss
February 3, 2019

What better way to spend a Saturday night - or any other night of the week, for that matter - than at Abigail's Party, the latest theatrical offering from Verge Theater Company? Featuring a wonderfully engaging ensemble of actors, Abigail's Party is now onstage through February 17 at The Barbershop Theater.

BWW Review: Nashville Story Garden's Stunning IRONBOUND Closes All-Too-Brief Run Tonight
February 2, 2019

For Darya, a 42-year-old Polish emigre eking out a meager and bleak existence in New Jersey, life in America seems far less promising than she may have considered at the outset of her journey. But in Martyna Majok's exquisitely crafted and beautifully written play - Ironbound - which ends its all-too-brief Nashville run tonight, there is a glimmer (a very faint one, truth be told, but a glimmer nonetheless) of hope that may augur a brighter future ahead.

BWW Review: CFTA's NEWSIES was Swell, But May We Have a Respite Now?
January 30, 2019

In recent years, Center for the Arts has certainly upped the ante with musical productions which have, consistently, been better than the one before, raising the bar for all the shows still to come. Case in point: Disney's Newsies, which closed its sold-out run in Murfreesboro on Sunday.

BWW Review: Nashville Children's Theatre's World Premiere of GHOST Bolts Out of the Blocks
January 29, 2019

During the very first scenes of Ghost - the world premiere of the play by Idris Goodwin, based upon the 2016 book of the same name by Jason Reynolds, now onstage at Nashville Children's Theatre through February 3 - the audience becomes caught up in the emotional turmoil experienced by young Castle Cranshaw and his mom, Terri. As their world is upended by events taking place onstage, the story of Ghost is set in motion, hurtling toward a moment in which lives are changed and the future opens up in ways both unexpected and completely authentic.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Opens the 2019 Season at Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon County
January 26, 2019

One of the silver screen's most popular musicals, Singin' in the Rain comes to the stage of Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon County with all the trappings of a box office smash: memorable score, talented actors and enough technical razzle-dazzle to delight even the most discerning of theater-goers. Opening February 8 (and continuing through February 23) at ACCC, the stage musical stars Austin Jeffrey Smith, Lindsey Mapes Duggin and Daxton Patrick in the film roles immortalized by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor in the award-winning 1952 film version.

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK Launches 2019 Season at Cumberland County Playhouse
January 22, 2019

Cumberland County Playhouse - winner of the First Night Award for Outstanding Musical of 2018 for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - has announced its lineup for the 2019 season.

Kristin McCalley Directs Martyna Majok's IRONBOUND Opening Saturday in Nashville
January 22, 2019

Nashville Story Garden presents the Nashville premiere of Ironbound by Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok January 26-February 2 at the former Inglewood United Methodist Church, 3511 Gallatin Pike, Nashville. Starring Joe Mobley (Vik), Gerald Pitts (Maks), Tamara Todres (Darja) and Ted Welch (Tommy), Ironbound is directed by Kristin McCalley.

Tennessee Playwrights Studio Introduces 2019 Fellows and Associates
January 22, 2019

Tennessee Playwrights Studio, a Nashville-based new-play development lab in partnership with Actors Bridge Ensemble, has announced its fellows and associates for 2019. Five TPS fellows, chosen from a competitive application process, will work under the direction of Kenley Smith to develop new full-length scripts that will be presented in public readings at the Darkhorse Theatre Chapel later this year. Two associates will contribute to monthly workshop sessions in the first year and will become TPS Fellows in 2020. TPS will continue to cast actors from the Nashville community for workshops and readings.

BWW Review: Nashville Shakespeare Festival's JULIUS CAESAR Serves Up Political Intrigue at its Best
January 21, 2019

As the century was about to turn when Shakespeare first unveiled his tragic masterpiece, Julius Caesar - it's believed to have been written around 1599 - political turmoil was afoot in Britain as worries mounted about who would succeed the aging virgin queen on the throne upon her demise. Thus, all the political intrigue and conspiratorial backbiting of Elizabeth I's reign no doubt proved fertile enough to inspire Shakespeare's epic tale of the demise of the Roman leader.

BWW Review: Renee Elise Goldsberry Revives the Spirit in Concerts with The Nashville Symphony
January 19, 2019

Last week, while talking with Tony Award-winning actress/singer/songwriter Renee Elise Goldsberry - during which we discussed her upcoming series of concerts with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra - she responded to my query about how much of 'Renee' is in each of the myriad characters by which she's come to be known and loved by her legions of fans.

Photo Coverage: Midwinter's First Night 2019 at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Nashville
January 18, 2019

Actors Bridge Ensemble's acclaimed production of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves and Cumberland County Playhouse's rendition of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street were named as the top shows of the year during Midwinter's First Night, the annual tribute to theater in Tennessee, held at Nashville's The Larry Keeton Theatre last Sunday night, January 13. Photographer Rae Lynn Whetzel-Stickney captured many of the night's biggest moments with her camera, which are shared on BroadwayWorld Nashville today.

BWW Review: Circle Players' AVENUE Q Ushers in 2019 With Fast-Paced Hilarity
January 17, 2019

For legions of musical theater fans brought up on daily trips to Sesame Street, thanks to the fine folks at Children's Television Workshop, there is quite possibly no show more beloved than Avenue Q - the grown-up version of the kind of programming directed at children in hopes of helping them navigate the vagaries of childhood and adolescence. To be certain, Avenue Q is not for the easily offended or politically conservative, but the Tony Award-winning best musical of the 2004 Broadway season is an ideal outing for anyone with a highly developed sense of humor and a fondness for pushing the envelope, musical theatre-wise.

Tony Award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry Performs With The Nashville Symphony This Weekend
January 17, 2019

No matter the role for which you may best remember Renee Elise Goldsberry - whether it's her Tony Award winning turn as Hamilton's Angelica Schuyler, The Good Wife's assistant state's attorney Geneva Pine, One Life to Live's Evangeline Williamson, Altered Carbon's Quellcrist Falconer on Netflix, or the title character in HBO's acclaimed film adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - you may be certain they all come from within the heart and soul of the multi-talented actress/singer/songwriter who makes her first appearance with the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra, beginning tonight for a three-performance run through Saturday, January 19 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

BWW Review: ON YOUR FEET Heats Up A Cold Winter's Night in Music City
January 16, 2019

Looking for the perfect way to ward off winter's chill on a particularly cold and damp Nashville night? Then take our word for it: There's no better way than by immersing oneself in On Your Feet: The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical, now onstage at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall through Sunday, January 20.

THE WOLVES, SWEENEY TODD Win Top Awards at 2019 Midwinter's First Night
January 15, 2019

Actors Bridge Ensemble's critically acclaimed production of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves and Cumberland County Playhouse's stunning mounting of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street were named as the top shows of the year during Midwinter's First Night, the annual tribute to theater in Tennessee, held at Nashville's The Larry Keeton Theatre Sunday night, January 13.



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