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: CFTA's NEWSIES was Swell, But May We Have a Respite Now?Review: CFTA's NEWSIES was Swell, But May We Have a Respite Now?
Posted: Jan. 30, 2019


BWW Review: A BRONX TALE Gets A Warm Welcome At Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts CenterReview: A BRONX TALE Gets A Warm Welcome At Nashville's TPAC
Posted: Feb. 13, 2019


BWW Review: Nashville Story Garden's Stunning IRONBOUND Closes All-Too-Brief Run TonightReview: Nashville Story Garden's Stunning IRONBOUND Closes Tonight
Posted: Feb. 2, 2019


Photo Coverage: Midwinter's First Night 2019 at The Larry Keeton Theatre in NashvillePhoto Coverage: Midwinter's First Night 2019
Posted: Jan. 18, 2019


Third Annual WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Saturday at KST Studio of VoiceThird WINTER SHOWCASE On Tap Saturday at KST Studio of Voice
Posted: Feb. 6, 2019


SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Opens the 2019 Season at Woodbury's Arts Center of Cannon CountySINGIN' IN THE RAIN Opens 2019 Season at Arts Center of Cannon County
Posted: Jan. 26, 2019


LAST 365 DAYS

The Man Behind the Mask: Quentin Oliver Lee of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERAThe Man Behind the Mask: THE PHANTOM's Quentin Oliver Lee
Posted: Oct. 19, 2018


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


BWW Review: Studio Tenn's New FRANKENSTEIN Is Mesmerizing and StartlingReview: Studio Tenn's Mesmerizing New FRANKENSTEIN
Posted: Sep. 4, 2018


First Night's Top Ten of 2018 Announced in Nashville TonightFirst Night's Top Ten of 2018 Announced in Nashville Tonight
Posted: Dec. 10, 2018


BWW Review: Chaffin's Barn Re-opens With Habit-Forming SISTER ACTBWW Review: Chaffin's Barn Re-opens With Habit-Forming SISTER ACT
Posted: Aug. 6, 2018


BWW Review: Starmaking Performances Lead Belmont University's Exhilarating ON THE TOWNReview: Starmaking Performances in Belmont's ON THE TOWN
Posted: Mar. 21, 2018


Laura Osnes and Susan Egan on the Magical and Miraculous Powers of THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY
November 16, 2018

What might you expect if you find yourself caught up in the spectacle of the Broadway Princess Party's festivities at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's James K. Polk Theatre today, November 16? A theatrical concert like none other, predicts Laura Osnes, one of the three aforementioned princesses of the Great White Way who will bring their magical blend of entertainment, theatrical revelry, onstage magic - and pure, unadulterated pleasure (and boatloads of fun, we suspect) - to Music City for a one-night stand that promises to leave audiences feeling 'transported, enchanted, empowered and inspired.'

BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS Brings Musical Theater Joy to the Holiday Season
November 14, 2018

If there is a musical theater moment more joyous that what occurs at the top of Act Two in Irving Berlin's White Christmas, then we must respectfully demand it be performed in front of us as quickly as possible. Certainly, we recognize there is much joy to be found in musical theater, but sitting in the audience at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall - six years to the day we last found ourselves awash in the nostalgia and sentimentality so abundant in this particular holiday favorite - we simply couldn't recall anything more engaging or more entertaining than watching Jeremy Benton and Kelly Sheehan, backed by a cadre of 12 other fleet-footed dancers, tapping their hearts out to "I Love a Piano.'

BWW Review: HELLO, DOLLY! Claims the Stage at Arts Center of Cannon County
November 13, 2018

Not often does it happen that a young actor walks away with a show lock, stock and barrel - especially if he's in the company of some of the most experienced veteran actors to be found on local stages. But that is exactly what happens in Arts Center of Cannon County's current 2108 mainstage season finale of Hello, Dolly!, the Jerry Herman classic now onstage in Woodbury through November 18.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's BOBBY HOGAN
November 13, 2018

It's been a typically hectic semester for Belmont University senior Bobby Hogan: he completed his run as Davey in Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre's production of Newsies, started rehearsal on his next show, began preparations for his own senior show next semester and continued as a varsity cheerleader at the school.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for November 12, 2018
November 13, 2018

Looking ahead, you'll find a number of new productions on tap, including a whole slew of holiday favorites, for your entertainment pleasure, thanks to the efforts of theater companies all over Middle Tennessee. Here's our calendar for November 12, 2018, to help you plot your course through next February...

Nashville's Very Own Song-and-Dance Man Jeremy Benton Kicks Off the Holidays in IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS
November 13, 2018

This week finds Jeremy Benton - Broadway's favorite tap-dancing man - in Paducah, Kentucky, with the rest of the cast and crew of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, preparing for tonight's opening performance of the quintessential holiday season musical. He's spent so many holiday seasons performing in White Christmas, in fact (he joined the show back in 2005 and has been a part of the company off and on ever since) that it's become second nature to him now.

BWW Review: Nashville Children's Theatre's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Utterly Delightful
November 9, 2018

It should come as no surprise whatsoever that the opening night audience for NCT's holiday season offering of Disney's The Little Mermaid rewarded the cast and crew with loud cheers, sustained applause and, more importantly, their rapt attention - were it not for the fact that last night's audience was comprised primarily of (how will we say it without offending?) more experienced theater-goers.

Nashville's Very Own Song-and-Dance Man Jeremy Benton Kicks Off the Holidays in IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS
November 8, 2018

This week finds Jeremy Benton - Broadway's favorite tap-dancing man - in Paducah, Kentucky, with the rest of the cast and crew of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, preparing for tonight's opening performance of the quintessential holiday season musical. He's spent so many holiday seasons performing in White Christmas, in fact (he joined the show back in 2005 and has been a part of the company off and on ever since) that it's become second nature to him now.

Laura Osnes and Susan Egan on the Magical and Miraculous Powers of THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY
November 7, 2018

What might you expect if you find yourself caught up in the spectacle of the Broadway Princess Party's festivities at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's James K. Polk Theatre on Friday, November 16? A theatrical concert like none other, predicts Laura Osnes, one of the three aforementioned princesses of the Great White Way who will bring their magical blend of entertainment, theatrical revelry, onstage magic - and pure, unadulterated pleasure (and boatloads of fun, we suspect) - to Music City for a one-night stand that promises to leave audiences feeling 'transported, enchanted, empowered and inspired.'

Change of Date and Venue for Actors Bridge Ensemble's Production of Sarah DeLappe's THE WOLVES
November 7, 2018

Performance dates and a change in venue are in order for the Actors Bridge Ensemble's production of The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. Originally scheduled to open this Friday night at Belmont's Black Box Theatre, the Nashville premiere of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-nominated play about a girls' indoor soccer team will now run November 30-December 2 and December 6-8 at the Darkhorse Theater, 4610 Charlotte Avenue, according to ABE artistic director Vali Forrister.

This Dancer's Life: NB2's MOLLY YEO
November 5, 2018

Molly Yeo began dancing at four years old, while living in North Carolina - moving overseas with her family as an adolescent, where she trained in traditional Indonesian dance, subsequently studying internationally in Jakarta, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand. Returning to the states for high school, she trained at the Ballet School of Chapel Hill and with Duke University's dance department, ultimately performing with the Chapel Hill Dance Theater and appearing in Carolina Ballet's production of Giselle.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for November 5, 2018
November 5, 2018

Looking ahead, 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 November 5, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORD
November 4, 2018

Macy Medford's had a pretty remarkable time while studying at Belmont University. A graduate of Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas, she came to Nashville as part of the Class of 2019 of the school's renowned musical theatre program at Belmont, where she continues to grow as a performer, but perhaps more importantly as an individual with her sights firmly focused on the future.

High School Drama: Hume-Fogg Academic High School's MICHAEL DUNAWAY
November 4, 2018

Michael Dunaway's senior year at Nashville's Hume-Fogg Academic High School's has indeed been a busy one for the young song-and-dance man who this week opens in his school's staging of Disney's Newsies, one of the most-often produced shows of the 2018-19 season. Playing the musical's iconic leading man Jack Kelly, Dunaway leads off his final year as HFA's leading man with one of the most coveted roles in contemporary musical theater.

BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S HOLIDAY INN Kicks Off The Holiday Season With Style at Cumberland County Playhouse
November 4, 2018

What better way to leave behind the turmoil of the modern world than by indulging in a bright, shiny new musical burnished with the warm glow of nostalgia and featuring a score by the inimitable Irving Berlin? We can't imagine anything more fun - or more timely, for that matter - than a couple of hours or more spent in the audience of Cumberland County Playhouse to experience the company's latest musical treat: Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn.

BWW Review: Lipscomb University Theatre's GODSPELL Filled With Heart and Soul
November 3, 2018

Patriq James' graceful portrayal of Jesus Christ in Lipscomb University Theatre's production of Godspell - now onstage in Collins Alumni Auditorium on the school's Nashville campus - shines like a beacon in the very center of the show, providing the very heart of every story told by director Scott Baker's 17-person cast. But if James provides the show's heart, it is perhaps the members of Baker's ensemble, which includes a deft blending of experienced student actors with an assortment of newcomers to their company, who provide its soul.

Birdsong and Williams Come Full Circle to Play THE LITTLE MERMAID's Ariel and Prince Eric for NCT
November 1, 2018

For Catherine Birdsong, the animated film version of The Little Mermaid - the 1989 Disney musical fantasy based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen - was the first movie she remembers ever seeing in a darkened cinema and it continues to elicit memories, to reverberate in her heart, particularly now that she finds herself in rehearsal for the debut of the stage musical at Nashville Children's Theatre.

Bradley Brown Named Managing Director of Nashville Shakespeare Festival
October 31, 2018

Bradley Brown has been named managing editor of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival and will be responsible for the administrative and operational management of NSF and will oversee the its marketing, development and accounting.

Patriq James Stars in Lipscomb University Theatre's homecoming musical GODSPELL Nov. 2-11
October 31, 2018

Lipscomb University Theatre unveils its latest production - a play that started out as a college senior project - which depicts the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in a fun-filled, creative new staging of John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz's Godspell. Coinciding with homecoming festivities on the Nashville campus, Godspell stars Nashville professional actor Patriq James as Jesus in performances November 2-11, along with an ensemble of Lipscomb University student actors.

High School Drama: Hillsboro High School's Tim Russell
October 30, 2018

Hillsboro High School's Tim Russell is deep into tech week with his castmates for their upcoming production of Bertolt Brecht's The Causasian Chalk Circle,which opens Thursday night, November 1, and is presented by The Hillsboro Players under the direction of Will Butler and Kristin Moon.



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