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


Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's BROOKE BETHELCollegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's BROOKE BETHEL
Posted: Sep. 26, 2018


Collegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's REGAN HOLMBERGCollegiate Theatrics: MTSU's REGAN HOLMBERG
Posted: Oct. 3, 2018


Diana DeGarmo Set to Star as Tinker Bell in Christmas Panto at TPACDeGarmo Set to Star as Tinker Bell in Christmas Panto at TPAC
Posted: Sep. 19, 2018


BWW Review: Circle Players' HAIR Captures a Moment in Time With Absolute ConfidenceBWW Review: Circle Players' HAIR Captures a Moment in Time
Posted: Oct. 8, 2018


VIDEO: CMA Foundation and Kristin Chenoweth Host High School Students for Special Q&A at Schermerhorn Sound CheckVIDEO: CMA Foundation and Chenoweth Host Students for Q&A
Posted: Oct. 5, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

First Night's Top Ten for 2018 Announced in NashvilleFirst Night's Top Ten for 2018 Announced in Nashville
Posted: Dec. 29, 2017


Nashville Theater Family Mourns the Death of Grammy Award-Winner/Broadway Veteran Lari WhiteNashville Theater Family Mourns the Death of Lari White
Posted: Jan. 23, 2018


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


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


BWW Review: Latest Stunning Revival of LES MISERABLES Thrills Nashville Audiences in Return to TPACReview: Stunning Revival of LES MISERABLES Thrills Audiences
Posted: Nov. 15, 2017


THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Why Are Its PHANS So Obsessed With Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical?THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Why Are Its PHANS So Obsessed With Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical?
October 16, 2018

What about the story keeps audiences coming back again and again to see The Phantom of the Opera? Is it the lushly romantic score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber? Or could it be the costumes and scenery, so widely seen across the globe - and so easily identifiable as being from The Phantom - that they are considered iconic? Or could it be the mysteriously intriguing and sumptuously romantic Gaston Leroux story?

BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Stunning and Provocative A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Stunning and Provocative A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2
October 15, 2018

Nora's back - and she's pissed! Some 15 years after Henrik Ibsen's proto-feminist Nora Helmer came to the momentous decision to leave her controlling husband at the end of A Doll's House - and some 140 years after she first stepped in front of the footlights at Copenhagen's Royal Theatre in 1879 - she finally returns to her Norwegian home to confront her estranged husband and to reveal just what she's been up to since she left her utterly conventional life behind in search of something more.

Collegiate Theatrics: The University of Memphis' LAYNE CRUTSINGERCollegiate Theatrics: The University of Memphis' LAYNE CRUTSINGER
October 15, 2018

And if there's any justice in the world of the performing arts, you can rest assured that University of Memphis' Layne Mackenzie Crutsinger will be among the names of particular note. A graduate of Mt. Juliet High School, she's now a senior at the University of Memphis, looking ahead to what the future holds in store for her.

High School Drama: Nashville School of the Arts' LUCY TURNERHigh School Drama: Nashville School of the Arts' LUCY TURNER
October 14, 2018

Lucy Turner has been a fixture in Nashville theater since she was a toddler, it seems, and now - in an example of how times flies by - the senior at Nashville School of the Arts is in the throes of choosing a college, filing applications and scheduling auditions. She burst upon the local theater scene at ten years old, playing Rhoda Penmark in director Cathy Street's critically acclaimed production of Maxwell Anderson's The Bad Seed at Street Theatre Company.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 15, 2018SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 15, 2018
October 14, 2018

Looking into the future, you'll find a number of new productions on tap for your entertainment pleasure, thanks to the efforts of theater companies all over Middle Tennessee. Here's our calendar for October 1, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...

Dramaturg Janice Paran Discusses the World Premiere of FALLING OUT at OZ Arts NashvilleDramaturg Janice Paran Discusses the World Premiere of FALLING OUT at OZ Arts Nashville
October 12, 2018

Serving as dramaturg for Falling Out, a provocative new performance piece from the New York-based Phantom Limb Company, which has its world premiere this weekend at Nashville's OZ Arts, has been unlike any other project Janice Paran has ever worked on.

Nashville's Martha Rivers Ingram Among Honorees at 2019 Theatre Communications Group GalaNashville's Martha Rivers Ingram Among Honorees at 2019 Theatre Communications Group Gala
October 12, 2018

Nashville businesswoman, philanthropist and arts advocate Martha Rivers Ingram is one of three individuals to be recognized at the annual gala of Theatre Communications Group in 2019. In addition to Ingram, who is co-founder of Nashville Repertory Theatre and who spearheaded the creation of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, honorees included Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and Broadway press agent Rick Miramontez, president of DKC/O&M.

Thursday 5(+1): Jena Salb & Jason Scott from The Keeton's 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEEThursday 5(+1): Jena Salb & Jason Scott from The Keeton's 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
October 11, 2018

Today, just in time for their show's opening, two cast members - Jason Scott, who plays the self-involved Chip Tolentino, and Jena Salb, who is cast as former champion Rona Lisa Peretti, step up to the microphone to answer our Thursday 5(+1) questions and to offer the suggestion that a revival of Legally Blonde: The Musical might be a good consideration for next season at The Keeton.

BWW Review: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG Delivers the Comedy Goods for Nashville AudiencesBWW Review: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG Delivers the Comedy Goods for Nashville Audiences
October 10, 2018

Everything that could conceivably trip up seasoned performers - who've been reciting monologues in front of their bathroom mirrors since they were toddlers, bring down a set considered to be a landmark in design for the stage (or in the history of architecture since the Greeks built their first temple and the Romans engineered their first aqueduct), and/or send scores of trembling thespians to the emergency room after but one performance - actually befall the cast and crew of The Play That Goes Wrong.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 8, 2018SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 8, 2018
October 8, 2018

Looking into the future, you'll find a number of new productions on tap for your entertainment pleasure, thanks to the efforts of theater companies all over Middle Tennessee. Here's our calendar for October 1, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...

BWW Review: Circle Players' HAIR Captures a Moment in Time With Absolute ConfidenceBWW Review: Circle Players' HAIR Captures a Moment in Time With Absolute Confidence
October 8, 2018

Hair is a great big hit on the symbolic and mostly imaginary bong that is theater in Music City - or anywhere else artists come together to share the largesse of their own indomitable spirits. The resulting production will leave you inspired, maybe even more readily equipped with the realities of life in the 21st century, which proves that no matter how much times have changed, they remain stultifyingly the same. While our prejudices and biases may have been altered by the social upheaval of the 1960s and the decades that followed, introspection reveals that we only have refocused our baser instincts on issues of equal significance.

BWW Review: Posner's STUPID FUCKING BIRD Launches ACT 1's 30th SeasonBWW Review: Posner's STUPID FUCKING BIRD Launches ACT 1's 30th Season
October 8, 2018

There is a wonderful scene in act two of Aaron Posner's Stupid Fucking Bird - the first production of ACT 1's 2018-19 season - during which actors Tamara Scott and Diego Gomez, playing mother and son, launch into a years-in-the-making confrontation that gives both actors an opportunity to prove their mettle in decidedly theatrical fashion. If only for that one scene in Posner's three-act play, audiences could walk away satisfied, but thanks to Mark Cabus' inspired direction of a particularly notable cast there are far more moments to entertain and, perhaps, to challenge audiences to think about the personal cost of creating art.

BWW Review: Towne Centre Theatre's THE BAD SEED Offers 1950s-Flavored Seasonal FunBWW Review: Towne Centre Theatre's THE BAD SEED Offers 1950s-Flavored Seasonal Fun
October 6, 2018

A word to the wise is sufficient: Never turn your back on Rhoda Penmark. No matter how well-behaved, how polite or how sickeningly sweet she may seem, the little girl with the larcenous heart simply cannot be trusted and it is at your own peril that you decide to trust her - the fact that she is a fictional character notwithstanding.

VIDEO: CMA Foundation and Kristin Chenoweth Host High School Students for Special Q&A at Schermerhorn Sound CheckVIDEO: CMA Foundation and Kristin Chenoweth Host High School Students for Special Q&A at Schermerhorn Sound Check
October 5, 2018

Students participating in the annual Spotlight Awards, a celebration of musical theatre in Tennessee high schools, were special guests of Tony and Emmy award winner Kristin Chenoweth last week during sound check prior to her performances with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Everything's Going Right for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG's Evan Alexander SmithEverything's Going Right for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG's Evan Alexander Smith
October 5, 2018

"Two hours of uncompromising joy" is how Evan Alexander Smith describes the critically acclaimed The Play That Goes Wrong, the West End and Broadway comedy hit which just recently embarked on its first national tour of the USA, bringing its unique amalgam of theatrical artistry, uproarious humor and full-out laughter to audiences all over the country.

Friday 5(+1): The Cast of Circle Players' HAIRFriday 5(+1): The Cast of Circle Players' HAIR
October 5, 2018

Circle Players continues to celebrate of its 2018-19 season with tonight's opening of Hair, the 1969 tribal love-rock musical that made musical theater history with its premiere 50 years ago. Directed by Jason Lewis and choreographed by Tosha Pendergrast, the eagerly anticipated production features a cast of Nashville's favorite actors, with Nicholas Page as Claude.

CMA Foundation and Kristin Chenoweth Host High School Students for Special Q&A at Schermerhorn Sound CheckCMA Foundation and Kristin Chenoweth Host High School Students for Special Q&A at Schermerhorn Sound Check
October 9, 2018

Students participating in the annual Spotlight Awards, a celebration of musical theatre in Tennessee high schools, were special guests of Tony and Emmy award winner Kristin Chenoweth last week during sound check prior to her performances with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Thursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from  JEKYLL & HYDEThursday 5(+1): Callum Ammons, Alexius Frost and Mark David Williams from JEKYLL & HYDE
October 4, 2018

Director Renee Robinson brings the Frank Wildhorn musical Jekyll & Hyde - based on Robert Louis Stevenson's iconic novella - to life at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts, opening Friday, October 5 and continuing through October 21.

Collegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's REGAN HOLMBERGCollegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's REGAN HOLMBERG
October 3, 2018

Following a summer spent as an intern with Studio Tenn (and appearing in the company's production of Frankenstein), Regan Holmberg finds herself in the midst of her junior year at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and already is hard at work on her first show of the semester. In fact, she predicts fall semester 2018 is going to be as jam-packed as her summer was as Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine opens in MTSU's Dorethe Tucker Theatre tonight.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 1, 2018SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 1, 2018
October 1, 2018

Looking into the future, you'll find a number of new productions on tap for your entertainment pleasure, thanks to the efforts of theater companies all over Middle Tennessee. Here's our calendar for October 1, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...



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