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.




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LAST 30 DAYS

SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13
Posted: Sep. 26, 2017


Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's SARAH JOHNSONCollegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's SARAH JOHNSON
Posted: Sep. 29, 2017


Jacob Heinz Directs 2017 Production of SPIRIT in AdamsJacob Heinz Directs 2017 Production of SPIRIT in Adams
Posted: Oct. 6, 2017


Circle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMECircle Players' Stages Nashville Premiere of HUNCHBACK Musical
Posted: Oct. 17, 2017


Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's ANNA ELIZABETH MICKSCHCollegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's ANNA ELIZABETH MICKSCH
Posted: Oct. 17, 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


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.

Gadabout Theatre Company Presents Nashville Premiere of TREVOR Today & 12Gadabout Theatre Company Presents Nashville Premiere of TREVOR Today & 12
October 11, 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.

Jacob Heinz Directs 2017 Production of SPIRIT in AdamsJacob Heinz Directs 2017 Production of SPIRIT in Adams
October 6, 2017

As you sit on the grounds of the farm that once belonged to the Bell family, the annual dramatization of their haunting story Spirit will take you on an eerily captivating journey that began in 1804. That's when John Bell uprooted his family and moved to a beautiful area on the Red River, now known as Adams, unaware that the grounds were already occupied by the later-coined Bell Witch.

ACT 1's LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE Opens Tonight at DarkhorseACT 1's LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE Opens Tonight at Darkhorse
October 6, 2017

ACT 1 launches its 2017-18 season tonight, with the Brian Hill-directed Love, Loss and What I Wore the critically acclaimed play by Nora and Delia Ephron, based on the 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. Love, Loss and What I Wore opens at Darkhorse Theatre for a three-weekend run through October 21.

Tennessee Women's Theater Project Opens 11th Season With LINES IN THE DUSTTennessee Women's Theater Project Opens 11th Season With LINES IN THE DUST
October 6, 2017

Tennessee Women's Theater Project launches its eleventh season at Nashville's Z. Alexander Looby Theater with the regional premiere of a play that addresses a timely dilemma: Nikkole Salter's Lines in the Dust, which probes the timely topics of integration, racial privilege and school zoning manipulation. Lines in the Dust runs October 6-22.

Deason Helms Upcoming MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Woodbury's ACCCDeason Helms Upcoming MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Woodbury's ACCC
September 30, 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.

Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's SARAH JOHNSONCollegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's SARAH JOHNSON
September 29, 2017

Lipscomb University Theatre opens its 2017-18 season with the Kari Smith-directed version of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, the timeless and dramatically driven stage rendition of the life of Helen Keller and her relationship with her devoted teacher, Annie Sullivan. Sarah Johnson, a musical theatre major from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is cast as Helen and this week she sat down to consider our queries, provide us with some insight and to become the latest student featured in Collegiate Theatrics.

Vanderbilt University Theatre Opens Season With KID SIMPLE TodayVanderbilt University Theatre Opens Season With KID SIMPLE Today
September 29, 2017

Kid Simple, by Jordan Harrison, premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville in 2004 and revolves around the adventures of a young inventor by the name of Moll. She creates a machine for hearing sounds that cannot be heard by the human ear. Then an evil villain steals the machine, along with Moll's heart, and she goes on a quest to find the machine and preserve the everyday noises of our lives.


WINTER'S TALE, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA Headline 2017 Shakespeare in the ParkWINTER'S TALE, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA Headline 2017 Shakespeare in the Park
September 27, 2017

Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF) continues its tradition of Shakespeare in the Park with The Winter's Tale and Antony & Cleopatra, running from Thursday, August 10 through Sunday, September 17 at Centennial Park's band shell.

Tennessee Women's Theater Project Opens 11th Season With LINES IN THE DUSTTennessee Women's Theater Project Opens 11th Season With LINES IN THE DUST
September 26, 2017

Tennessee Women's Theater Project launches its eleventh season at Nashville's Z. Alexander Looby Theater with the regional premiere of a play that addresses a timely dilemma: Nikkole Salter's Lines in the Dust, which probes the timely topics of integration, racial privilege and school zoning manipulation. Lines in the Dust runs October 6-22.

SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13SLEEPY HOLLOW Musical Opens at Cumberland County Playhouse 10/13
September 26, 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.

Nashville-Area Ballet Students Encouraged to Audition for Moscow Ballet's NUTCRACKERNashville-Area Ballet Students Encouraged to Audition for Moscow Ballet's NUTCRACKER
September 26, 2017

Nashville-area ballet students ages six to 18 are invited to audition Tuesday, October 17, at 5 p.m. for Moscow Ballet soloist and audition director Maria Morari at Dance South Performing Arts in White House. The Moscow Ballet audition is open to students from dance studios across the region with a minimum one year of ballet training.

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!



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