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

BWW Review: Belmont University Musical Theatre's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOFReview: BUMT's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Posted: Nov. 12, 2017


McGEE MADDOX On His Starring Role in AN AMERICAN IN PARISMcGEE MADDOX On His Starring Role in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Posted: Oct. 30, 2017


MTSU Teams With Nashville Shakespeare Festival for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM 11/9-12MTSU Teams With Nashville Shakespeare Festival for MIDSUMMER 11/9-12
Posted: Oct. 30, 2017


BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Transforms TPAC's Jackson Hall Into Musical Theatre HeavenBWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Posted: Nov. 1, 2017


Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's ALEX DRINNENCollegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's ALEX DRINNEN
Posted: Oct. 30, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Fogelberg Score Soars in PART OF THE PLAN at TPACReview: Fogelberg Score Soars in PART OF THE PLAN
Posted: Sep. 11, 2017


PART OF THE PLAN: Why A New Dan Fogelberg Musical Has Its Roots Firmly Planted in Music CityPART OF THE PLAN: New Dan Fogelberg Musical Has Its Roots in Music City
Posted: Sep. 4, 2017


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


BWW Review: Belmont University Musical Theatre's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOFReview: BUMT's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Posted: Nov. 12, 2017


BWW Review: Nolan Makes Impressive Nashville Children's Theatre Debut With THE HUNDRED DRESSESReview: Nolan Makes Impressive NCT Debut With THE HUNDRED DRESSES
Posted: Sep. 15, 2017


Kate Atkinson and Karen Harris' PART OF THE PLAN Set to Debut at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts CenterKate Atkinson and Karen Harris' PART OF THE PLAN Set to Debut
Posted: Sep. 6, 2017


BWW Review: SISTER ACT Heralds A Return to the Glory Days at Chaffin's BarnReview: SISTER ACT Heralds A Return to the Glory Days
Posted: Jun. 9, 2017


BWW Review: Latest Stunning Revival of LES MISERABLES Thrills Nashville Audiences in Return to TPACBWW Review: Latest Stunning Revival of LES MISERABLES Thrills Nashville Audiences in Return to TPAC
November 15, 2017

As difficult as it is to fathom, some 27 years ago my first review of Les Miserables the internationally renowned musical based upon the iconic 1861 Victor Hugo novel about a reformed bread thief who is pursued over the decades by a relentless lawman in post-Revolutionary France was published, yet one thought remains consistent and steadfast. If faced with someone who claims to dislike musical theater, take them to see Les Mis (as the theatrical juggernaut is known throughout the world thanks to countless revivals, regional production, televised spectacles and one Oscar-winning film) for its epic storytelling, emotionally driven character studies and a lush and memorable score that is sure to win over the most hardened opponents of the art form.

BWW Review: Belmont University Musical Theatre's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOFBWW Review: Belmont University Musical Theatre's Remarkably Robust FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
November 12, 2017

It should come as absolutely no surprise that the current production onstage at Massey Performing Arts Center in Nashville, courtesy of the astonishing Belmont University Musical Theatre program, is possibly as good or even better than any show we've seen put on over the years by the venerated musical theater training school. In fact, BUMT has produced so many remarkable performers over the years that we may all rest assured that musical theater in America (if not the world) will continue to grow and prosper, thanks to the continued supply of new blood from Belmont.

SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13
November 11, 2017

Cumberland County Playhouse presents an all-new musical version of Sleepy Hollow by Tony Award nominees Hunter Foster and Paul Gordon, running October 13-November 11 in Crossville.

BWW Review: Circle Players' Sweeping and Epic HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMEBWW Review: Circle Players' Sweeping and Epic HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
November 8, 2017

With a sense of the sweeping epic about it and a darkly romantic story to tell The Hunchback of Notre Dame ( a new musical based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film ) offers an intriguing retelling of the story of Quasimodo, the hideously deformed and often reviled bellringer at Paris' Notre Dame cathedral, and Esmeralda, the fiery, passionate gypsy temptress with whom he becomes infatuated. Although set in the late 15th century, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, what with its themes of religious zealotry and bias and prejudice against an ethnic minority, remains eerily prescient and perhaps frighteningly contemporary given the tenor of the times in which we live.

BWW Review: Lipscomb University's SHE LOVES ME Has So Much to Love About ItBWW Review: Lipscomb University's SHE LOVES ME Has So Much to Love About It
November 6, 2017

Based on Hungarian playwright Miklos Lazlo's Parfumerie (which has also served as the inspiration for the movies The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Ole Summertime and You've Got Mail), She Loves Me is, for most musical theater aficionados, one of those infrequently-produced theatrical gems venerated by fans with much-played cast albums in their collections and beloved by audiences lucky enough to actually see the show onstage.

BWW Review: Nashville Children's Theatre's Charming MR. POPPER'S PENGUINSBWW Review: Nashville Children's Theatre's Charming MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS
November 6, 2017

Offering a thoroughly delightful and completely entertaining story about welcoming new challenges and living life to its fullest, Mr. Popper's Penguins the charming musical onstage at Nashville Children's Theatre through December 3 also offers its young audiences an intriguing history lesson about life during the Great Depression.

BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Transforms TPAC's Jackson Hall Into Musical Theatre HeavenBWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Transforms TPAC's Jackson Hall Into Musical Theatre Heaven
November 1, 2017

There is a new vision of heaven tap-dancing its way through my brain replete with beautiful showgirls and handsome chorus boys performing a show-stopping version of George and Ira Gershwin's I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise from An American in Paris, the sumptuous musical now onstage at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall through Sunday, November 5 and, quite frankly, if that is not what paradise will look like should I arrive there after my untimely demise, I will simply refuse to stay. For if paradise isn't the gorgeous and glittery, utterly theatrical vision supplied by this altogether splendid production, I'll say to hell with it (and me, I suppose), because surely paradise is set to a lush and memorable Gershwin score. Anything else is simply a poor facsimile of the real thing. Est-ce que tu comprends?

MTSU Teams With Nashville Shakespeare Festival for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM 11/9-12MTSU Teams With Nashville Shakespeare Festival for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM 11/9-12
October 30, 2017

Middle Tennessee State University's Theatre Department teams up with Nashville Shakespeare Festival for the upcoming production of Skakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by NSF artistic associate and MTSU adjunct professor of theatre Santiago Sosa. Midsummer runs November 9-12 at MTSU's Tucker Theatre.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's ALEX DRINNENCollegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's ALEX DRINNEN
October 30, 2017

And if there's any justice in the world of the performing arts, you can rest assured that Belmont University's Alex Drinnen one of the most accomplished and most often-cast young actors in Tennessee theater will be among the names of particular note. Today, he is in the spotlight as our latest scholar/actor to be profiled in our recurring features series Collegiate Theatrics.

McGEE MADDOX On His Starring Role in AN AMERICAN IN PARISMcGEE MADDOX On His Starring Role in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
October 30, 2017

For McGee Maddox the dancer/actor who plays Jerry Mulligan in the national tour of An American in Paris, which opens at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall on Tuesday, October 31 it's knowing that every Tuesday means a new venue, a new city and a new backstage crew that keeps him focused and the role fresh even after 128 performances.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Next Onstage at Larry Keeton Theatre October 12-28Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Next Onstage at Larry Keeton Theatre October 12-28
October 28, 2017

Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic 1949 musical about life, romance and hardships during World War II, which broached serious and controversial social issues still being dealt with in the 21st century South Pacific debuts at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson for an October 12-28 run.

Circle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMECircle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
October 27, 2017

Circle Players' 2017-18 season continues with the Nashville premiere of the Tim Larson-directed production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the epic musical based upon Victor Hugo's tale of hope, love and passion, which runs October 27-November 12 at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre in Nashville.

Nashville Children's Theatre's 2017-18 Season Continues With MR. POPPER'S PENGUINSNashville Children's Theatre's 2017-18 Season Continues With MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS
October 26, 2017

What do you get when you introduce a daydreaming house painter to a dozen delightful penguins? A flipper-flapping musical tale that will make you believe in the power of ingenuity and determination, according to Nashville Children's Theatre's executive artistic director Ernie Nolan, who describes it as a show packed with puppetry, humor, and heart, Mr. Popper's Penguins is bound to put a smile on your face.

Circle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMECircle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
October 17, 2017

Circle Players' 2017-18 season continues with the Nashville premiere of the Tim Larson-directed production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the epic musical based upon Victor Hugo's tale of hope, love and passion, which runs October 27-November 12 at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre in Nashville.

Todd Morgan Named New Managing Director at Studio TennTodd Morgan Named New Managing Director at Studio Tenn
October 17, 2017

Todd Morgan has been named as the new managing director of Studio Tenn, Middle Tennessee's award-winning theater company based in Franklin.

Nashville Children's Theatre's 2017-18 Season Continues With MR. POPPER'S PENGUINSNashville Children's Theatre's 2017-18 Season Continues With MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS
October 17, 2017

What do you get when you introduce a daydreaming house painter to a dozen delightful penguins? A flipper-flapping musical tale that will make you believe in the power of ingenuity and determination, according to Nashville Children's Theatre's executive artistic director Ernie Nolan, who describes it as a show packed with puppetry, humor, and heart, Mr. Popper's Penguins is bound to put a smile on your face.

Thank You, Places...The Theater Bug's JONAH DARNELLThank You, Places...The Theater Bug's JONAH DARNELL
October 17, 2017

With this our latest regular feature we hope to rectify that and shine the spotlight on the individuals who make the shows run with the precision of a Swiss timepiece. Thank You, Places is our opportunity to edify the theater-goer by introducing you to some of the best production stage managers to be found on the planet. Today, we introduce you to PSM Jonah Darnell, who has been stage managing for about a year now with Cori Laemmel's critically acclaimed and parent-approved Theater Bug:

Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's ANNA ELIZABETH MICKSCHCollegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's ANNA ELIZABETH MICKSCH
October 17, 2017

Among cast members of The Miracle Worker was Anna Elizabeth Micksch, who today is featured in our Collegiate Theatrics column. Born and raised in the greater Nashville/Franklin area, Anna became interested in theater at a very young age a love of art she credits to her father, who was designing a set for a play at St. Cecilia Academy.

SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse TodaySLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse Today
October 13, 2017

Cumberland County Playhouse presents an all-new musical version of Sleepy Hollow by Tony Award nominees Hunter Foster and Paul Gordon, running October 13-November 11 in Crossville.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Next Onstage at Larry Keeton Theatre Today-28Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC Next Onstage at Larry Keeton Theatre Today-28
October 12, 2017

Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic 1949 musical about life, romance and hardships during World War II, which broached serious and controversial social issues still being dealt with in the 21st century South Pacific debuts at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson for an October 12-28 run.



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