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: 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


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: Gorgeous MAMMA MIA! Takes the Chaffin's Barn Stage in High-Flying StyleBWW Review: MAMMA MIA! Takes Chaffin's Barn in High-Flying Style
Posted: Sep. 8, 2017


Nashville Children's Theatre Reveals Cast & Crew for 2017-18 SeasonNCT Reveals Cast & Crew for 2017-18 Season
Posted: Aug. 29, 2017


Photo Coverage: Dan Fogelberg Musical PART OF THE PLAN Preps for Nashville Opening 9/8Dan Fogelberg Musical PART OF THE PLAN Preps for 9/8 Opening
Posted: Sep. 1, 2017


Collegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's CONNER McCABECollegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's CONNER McCABE
Posted: Sep. 18, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

Cumberland County Playhouse Announces 2017 SeasonCumberland County Playhouse Announces 2017 Season
Posted: Dec. 3, 2016


Nashville's Historic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre Sold to New OwnerNashville's Historic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre Sold to New Owner
Posted: Dec. 28, 2016


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


BWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Colorful and Resplendent NASHVILLE'S NUTCRACKERBWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Resplendent NASHVILLE'S NUTCRACKER
Posted: Dec. 5, 2016


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


Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for 9/21/17Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for 9/21/17
September 21, 2017

Feeling the urge to let your imagination run wild, your spirit to soar or to just leave the world in which you live and go on an adventure? Sounds like a trip to the theater is in order! Luckily, companies all over the Volunteer State have been hard at work, creating new productions to transform and to transport, shows that will entertain you this summer. That's where THE NASHVILLE THEATER CALENDAR comes in handy: Peruse our listings every week to find out what shows you should see!

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
September 19, 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.

Gadabout Theatre Company Presents Nashville Premiere of TREVOR October 11 & 12Gadabout Theatre Company Presents Nashville Premiere of TREVOR October 11 & 12
September 19, 2017

Our goal to bring unique, left-of-center plays to the Nashville area that have never been performed here before, said Stephanie Houghton, founder of Gadabout Theater Company. Trevor is a truly unique work with a quirky sensibility that's surprisingly touching in places. We hope Nashville theatergoers will take a chance on experiencing something they're never seen here before.

Photo Coverage: Springhouse Theatre's DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEASTPhoto Coverage: Springhouse Theatre's DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
September 19, 2017

Springhouse Theatre Company opens its 2017-2018 season with Disney's Beauty and the Beast, directed by Rachael Parker. The show runs September 15,16, 22-23, 29-30, and October 1. All Friday/Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. Photographer Kenn Stilger, of Heavenly Perspective Photography, captured much of the excitement of the production with these photos from the final dress rehearsal.

Photo Coverage: Cumberland County Playhouse's THE DROWSY CHAPERONEPhoto Coverage: Cumberland County Playhouse's THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
September 18, 2017

Finally, a musical for everyone who loves musicals! Beginning September 15, Cumberland County Playhouse presents The Drowsy Chaperone, a loving send-up of Jazz age musicals featuring one show-stopping song and dance number after another.

Collegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's CONNER McCABECollegiate Theatrics: Middle Tennessee State University's CONNER McCABE
September 18, 2017

Take, for example, Conner McCabe, a 20-year-old junior at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro: the new academic year has barely been in session for a month and he's already preparing for his role as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Yet somehow, even with the typical schedule of a harried college student, he managed to find time to answer our queries as the latest actor in the spotlight for this edition of Collegiate Theatrics

BWW Review: Bailey Directs Well-Paced A FEW GOOD MEN at CFTABWW Review: Bailey Directs Well-Paced A FEW GOOD MEN at CFTA
September 16, 2017

If the production of Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men closing tonight after a much too brief two-weekend run at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts proves anything it's just how current and relevant the play remains, almost 30 years after its Broadway premiere. First produced there in 1989, followed up by the wildly successful film version three years later, it's long been a favorite of theater- and film-goers alike, giving them a bird's eye view of the machinations and intrigue that propels the plot of the courtroom drama forward.

BWW Review: Nolan Makes Impressive Nashville Children's Theatre Debut With THE HUNDRED DRESSESBWW Review: Nolan Makes Impressive Nashville Children's Theatre Debut With THE HUNDRED DRESSES
September 15, 2017

Ernie Nolan, Nashville Children's Theatre's new executive artistic director, makes an impressive debut with The Hundred Dresses, the initial show of his first official season as the leader of the country's oldest theater for younger audiences. Nolan's predecessor, the late and great Scot Copeland, led NCT through tremendous growth during his tenure and he is, without question, a hard act to follow.

FRIDAY 5 (+1): Cumberland County Playhouse's THE DROWSY CHAPERONEFRIDAY 5 (+1): Cumberland County Playhouse's THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
September 14, 2017

Who better than Cumberland County Playhouse's artistic director Britt Hancock to take the helm of The Drowsy Chaperone, the latest show slated to open on the mainstage of Crossville's iconic theater? After all, he starred as Broadway producer Feldzieg in the national touring company of the Tony Award-winning show, tap dancing his way across the country and winning hearts and rave reviews all along the way.

Deason Helms Upcoming MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Woodbury's ACCCDeason Helms Upcoming MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Woodbury's ACCC
September 15, 2017

He may have directed more than 100 shows in the near-half century that Darryl Deason has been bringing theater to life on stages all over Middle Tennessee. But it's clear when the 2015 First Night Honoree talks about his latest project - the Tony Award-winning Million Dollar Quartet - that this one is something special indeed.

HAUNTED Heralds New Collaborative Effort by Cutting-Edge Nashville CompaniesHAUNTED Heralds New Collaborative Effort by Cutting-Edge Nashville Companies
September 14, 2017

Haunted the new collaboration between cutting edge Nashville arts organizations Actors Bridge Ensemble, abrasiveMedia, and FALL: contemporary - aerial dance may heralds fresh way of creating performances in Music City.

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for September 13, 2017Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for September 13, 2017
September 13, 2017

Feeling the urge to let your imagination run wild, your spirit to soar or to just leave the world in which you live and go on an adventure? Sounds like a trip to the theater is in order! Luckily, companies all over the Volunteer State have been hard at work, creating new productions to transform and to transport, shows that will entertain you this summer. That's where THE NASHVILLE THEATER CALENDAR comes in handy: Peruse our listings every week to find out what shows you should see!

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Wednesday: A BLUER SHADE OF GRAY's Maddi and Chris KeatonFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Wednesday: A BLUER SHADE OF GRAY's Maddi and Chris Keaton
September 13, 2017

The way Chris Keaton sees it, his decision to take on his first theatrical role as an adult was, essentially, a no-brainer. After all, what proud and devoted father would pass up the opportunity to spend a month or more of evenings with his daughter to join her in the pursuit of a new onstage persona in an original musical?

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Tuesday: Arts Center of Cannon County's MILLION DOLLAR QUARTETFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Tuesday: Arts Center of Cannon County's MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
September 12, 2017

True, it's only Tuesday, but today's early-in-the-week edition of Friday 5 (+1) is so packed with interesting information and reasons for you to make reservations to see Million Dollar Quartet at Arts Center of Cannon County, we just couldn't control ourselves! And we're guessing you'll need the extra time to secure your tickets to see what director Darryl Deason promises will be one of the best shows of the year. May we suggest, therefore, that you read on in anticipation of Friday's opening night performance

Collegiate Theatrics: Vanderbilt University's MICHAEL MAERLENDERCollegiate Theatrics: Vanderbilt University's MICHAEL MAERLENDER
September 12, 2017

Today, we shine our spotlight on Vanderbilt University junior Michael Maerlender, a native of New London, New Hampshire, who is back in Nashville to pursue his dreams of a life in the theater while working as a production/writing intern with K-Squared Productions and Tennessee Performing Arts Center's world premiere run of Part of the Plan, a new musical that features a score from the catalogue of American singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg, which opened at TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre on Sunday night, following two preview performances that started last Friday.

BWW Review: Fogelberg Score Soars in PART OF THE PLAN at TPACBWW Review: Fogelberg Score Soars in PART OF THE PLAN at TPAC
September 11, 2017

Singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg's music has provided the soundtrack for so many people's lives over the past 40 years that it should come as no surprise that his remarkable catalogue of music now provides the score for a new musical with its sights focused on a Broadway transfer. But does Part of the Plan have the legs for such a momentous leap of faith and a story that will sell tickets?

The Day of the Show: PART OF THE PLAN Opens TonightThe Day of the Show: PART OF THE PLAN Opens Tonight
September 10, 2017

With Nashville's theater/music/entertainment/arts communities now abuzz about the world premiere of Part of the Plan, a new musical by Kate Atkinson and Karen Harris that is inspired by the music of American troubadour Dan Fogelberg, and which features a score of songs from among the singer/songwriter's catalog of biggest hits.

BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Stylish Take on Jane Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITYBWW Review: Nashville Rep's Stylish Take on Jane Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
September 10, 2017

There is no mistaking the incisive wit of Jane Austen's rather genteel evisceration of the British aristocracy to be found in Sense and Sensibility, the thoroughly delightful and completely engaging adaptation by Kate Hamill that opens Nashville Repertory Theatre's 2017-18 season. In gleeful style, director Rene D. Copeland and her 10-person ensemble bring Hamill's script and Austen's characters to life in a production that might best be described as sparkling and polished.

BWW Review: Studio Tenn's History Lesson for THE BATTLE OF FRANKLINBWW Review: Studio Tenn's History Lesson for THE BATTLE OF FRANKLIN
September 10, 2017

Memory plays are a challenge for any playwright - ask Tennessee Williams, whose The Glass Menagerie is not only the quintessential memory play, but is also a theatrical masterpiece - and that may, perhaps, explain the shortcomings found in Studio Tenn's The Battle of Franklin: A Tale of a House Divided, by Nashville author A.S. Peterson.

BWW Review: Gorgeous MAMMA MIA! Takes the Chaffin's Barn Stage in High-Flying StyleBWW Review: Gorgeous MAMMA MIA! Takes the Chaffin's Barn Stage in High-Flying Style
September 8, 2017

If not for the fact that she is already one on Broadway, it could be said that Rachel Potter's performance in Mamma Mia! - which opened last night at Nashville's historic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre - was, without doubt or without danger of fulsome exaggeration a "starmaking turn." With a glorious voice and stage presence to spare, Potter's Sophie seized control of the opening night audience from the very first moment she stepped onto the stage, never relinquishing control for one second, even when sharing the stage with the redoubtable Martha Wilkinson, the undisputed queen of musical theatre in Music City.



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