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

Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)Upcoming Nashville Theater Auditions (7/20/17)
Posted: Jul. 20, 2017


FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: WINTER'S TALE's Cash, Meinerding & TustinFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: NSF's THE WINTER'S TALE
Posted: Aug. 10, 2017


BWW Review: Circle Players' BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL Brings Down the HouseReview: Circle Players' BRING IT ON Brings Down the House
Posted: Aug. 12, 2017


BWW Review: Destiny Theatre Experience's MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT Burns BrightBWW Review: MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT Burns Bright
Posted: Jul. 22, 2017


BWW Review: CFTA's Tuneful and Entertaining THE PIRATES OF PENZANCEReview: CFTA's Tuneful & Entertaining THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
Posted: Aug. 14, 2017


BWW Review: Towne Centre's Sumptuously Sung THE SECRET GARDEN CaptivatesReview: Towne Centre's Sumptuously Sung THE SECRET GARDEN
Posted: Aug. 13, 2017


Friday 5 (+1) on Thursday: Seidl and Kummer's ACROSS THE LINESFriday 5 (+1) on Thursday: ACROSS THE LINES
Posted: Jul. 20, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

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


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


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


BWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stunning EVITA Makes History on Opening Night With Powerful PerformancesBWW Review: Studio Tenn's Stunning EVITA
Posted: Sep. 10, 2016


BWW Review: Springhouse Theatre's Winsome Staging of THE FANTASTICKSBWW Review: Springhouse Theatre's Winsome Staging of THE FANTASTICKS
August 19, 2017

Sometimes even the loveliest and most appealing of musical theater scores can be forgotten, virtually erased from your memory. Unless, of course, you have your digital music system programmed to play a cavalcade of memorable showtunes, but even then, you're likely hear songs from the same ten shows on a continuous loop.

THE DROWNING GIRLS Next Onstage for Distraction Theatre CompanyTHE DROWNING GIRLS Next Onstage for Distraction Theatre Company
August 18, 2017

Distraction Theatre Company brings The Drowning Girls written by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic to life August 18-26 at Nashville's Darkhorse Theater.

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: BIG RIVER's Teal Davis & Elliott RobinsonFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: BIG RIVER's Teal Davis & Elliott Robinson
August 17, 2017

Among the show's stars are Teal Davis and Elliott Robinson, who portray the show's protagonists Huck and Jim and take audiences on a journey down the Mississippi River in the rollicking, rambunctious show. Somehow, the two actors found time in their hectic, tech week schedules and sat down to take on our questions in order to offer some insight into why they do what they do, as well as suggesting why you just can't miss Big River during its three-weekend run at 108 Donelson Pike.

Upcoming Auditions in the Nashville Area for August 16Upcoming Auditions in the Nashville Area for August 16
August 16, 2017

Looking for a challenging role or to embark upon a new onstage adventure? Here is the latest audition information to come across the BroadwayWorld Nashville newsdesk. Want your audition information to be included? Send your information to jeffrey@bwayworld.com.

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for August 18Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for August 18
August 16, 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!

BWW Review: CFTA's Tuneful and Entertaining THE PIRATES OF PENZANCEBWW Review: CFTA's Tuneful and Entertaining THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
August 14, 2017

Director Chris McLaurin makes a particularly auspicious debut at the helm of his rollicking - and beautifully sung and winningly staged - production of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic The Pirates of Penzance, now playing at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts through August 27. Charming and engaging, McLaurin's Pirates hews closely to the comic opera's original production (the only one of Gilbert and Sullivan's works to actually have its initial staging on Broadway - in 1879), testament to the libretto's timelessness and its refreshingly contemporary humor.

BWW Review: Towne Centre's Sumptuously Sung THE SECRET GARDEN CaptivatesBWW Review: Towne Centre's Sumptuously Sung THE SECRET GARDEN Captivates
August 13, 2017

Katharine Boettcher's glorious soprano is finally given the showcase it so richly deserves in the beautifully sung production of Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon's The Secret Garden, the oftentimes stirring and altogether bewitching story of a young orphaned girl forced to live with her mysterious uncle in his 'house upon the hill' overlooking the moors in Yorkshire in the early years of the 20th Century.

BWW Review: Circle Players' BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL Brings Down the HouseBWW Review: Circle Players' BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL Brings Down the House
August 12, 2017

Strong and energetic - some even show-stopping - performances from a youthful, fresh-faced cast, choreography that will have you dancing in the aisles and sprightly direction that moves the plot along at an astonishing paceif you aren't already a fan of Bring It On the Musical, then Circle Players' production will make you one in short order.

FRIDAY 5 (+1): Chris McLaurin and Mara Smotherman of PIRATES OF PENZANCEFRIDAY 5 (+1): Chris McLaurin and Mara Smotherman of PIRATES OF PENZANCE
August 11, 2017

Chris McLaurin and one of his cast members, Mara Bloomfield Smotherman (who will be seen later this season in The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of South Pacific) take on our list of six questions for this latest version of Friday 5 (+1), offering insight into what makes them tick, what brought them to the theater in the first place and to suggest why you won't want to miss their show.

FRIDAY 5 (+1): BRING IT ON's Miracle Ham and Emily UrbanskiFRIDAY 5 (+1): BRING IT ON's Miracle Ham and Emily Urbanski
August 11, 2017

Now, Lewis and his team - which includes choreographers Ashley Danielle and Tosha Pendergrast - give the show their own unique spin, opening tonight at Nashville's Z. Alexander Looby Theatre, featuring a fresh-faced young cast bringing the show to life. Two of those cast members - Emily Urbanski and Miracle Ham - responded to our queries, telling us how they found their way to theatrical careers and suggesting why you should be certain to see their show in this edition of Friday 5 (+1)...

FRIDAY 5 (+1): THE SECRET GARDEN's Maya Riley and Holly HillFRIDAY 5 (+1): THE SECRET GARDEN's Maya Riley and Holly Hill
August 11, 2017

Maya Riley and Holly Hill take on roles in the lushly-scored musical, performing for hometown audiences who have wondered what they have been up to in college, showing off their talents in director Tim Larson's cast, offering a glimpse into their creative processes and their personal and professional growth in the theater.

FRIDAY 5 (+1): THE FANTASTICKS' Leach, Beckett and HargisFRIDAY 5 (+1): THE FANTASTICKS' Leach, Beckett and Hargis
August 11, 2017

Stars Jacqueline Leach, Lucas Beckett and Jeremy Hargis took time from their packed schedules to tell us more about themselves, as well as to offer some reasons why audiences should come see their show. Read all about it in the latest Friday 5 (+1) and make your reservations quickly - the show is bound to sell out!

THE FANTASTICKS Ushers In Pull-Tight Players' 2017-18 SeasonTHE FANTASTICKS Ushers In Pull-Tight Players' 2017-18 Season
August 11, 2017

One of the world's best-known and longest-runnng musicals - The Fantasticks by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt - ushers in the 2017-18 season at Franklin's Pull-Tight Theatre in a new production helmed by director Pat Street, running August 11-26.

FRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: WINTER'S TALE's Cash, Meinerding & TustinFRIDAY 5 (+1) on Thursday: WINTER'S TALE's Cash, Meinerding & Tustin
August 10, 2017

One of Music City's longest running summer theater traditions continues tonight with the debut of 2017's Shakespeare in the Park, Nashville Shakespeare Festival's annual gift to a generation of theater audiences. This year's edition of Shakespeare in the Park will feature two of the Bard's best known works - The Winter's Tale, which opens tonight, and Antony & Cleopatra, which opens next Thursday night at the Centennial Park Band Shell.

WINTER'S TALE, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA Headline 2017 Shakespeare in the ParkWINTER'S TALE, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA Headline 2017 Shakespeare in the Park
August 10, 2017

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

Cumberland County Playhouse Unveils 24th Year of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAINCumberland County Playhouse Unveils 24th Year of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN
August 10, 2017

Smoke On the Mountain, the ever popular bluegrass/gospel musical, kicks off its 24th year at Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse, on Friday, June 2, as director Weslie Webster welcomes two new members to the famed Sanders Family Singers.

Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for August 9Critic's Choice: What's Playing in Tennessee? Nashville Theater Calendar for August 9
August 9, 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!

BWW Review: SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN's Sentimental Journey at Chaffin's BarnBWW Review: SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN's Sentimental Journey at Chaffin's Barn
August 8, 2017

Theater's power to transform and transport is astonishing and the capability of artists to create a sense of time and place, with words and music and theatrical wizardry to lend a tangible feeling to the experience can leave you breathless. Who'd have ever thought that such thrilling artistry, the very magic of make believe, could be so vividly expressed, so awesomely felt in two hours spent in a backwoods Southern church on a Saturday night in 1938? But that's exactly what happens in Smoke on the Mountain, Connie Ray and Alan Bailey's evocative, down-home musical that lovingly takes its audiences back home again in ways not even Thomas Wolfe may ever have imagined.

BWW Review: Roxy Regional's STEEL MAGNOLIAS Takes You Back HomeBWW Review: Roxy Regional's STEEL MAGNOLIAS Takes You Back Home
August 8, 2017

Nothing seems to spark so much debate among the theaterati than the announcement of an upcoming production of a show considered overdone, old-fashioned or somehow hackneyed and quasi-provincial. Take for example, Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias - the somewhat nostalgic and Southern-fried seriocomic tale of six women who gather every Saturday morning in a Louisiana beauty shop to have their bouffants teased, their shags trimmed, popular recipes swapped and the lives of their neighbors vivisected in the relative sanctity of a women-only establishment - that has been a part of contemporary literature since its 1987 premiere at off-Broadway's WPA Theatre 'up north' in New York.

2017 Shakespeare in the Park Opens Thursday With THE WINTER'S TALE2017 Shakespeare in the Park Opens Thursday With THE WINTER'S TALE
August 8, 2017

Nashville Shakespeare Festival presents its latest version of The Winter's Tale, directed by NSF artistic associate and apprentice company director Santiago Sosa, the 2017 season opening production of Shakespeare in the Park this Thursday, August 10, at Centennial Park's band shell.



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