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: 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


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


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


High School Drama: Hume-Fogg Academic High School's AVA LOCKNAR
October 29, 2018

Very few actors can boast the resume, replete with some of the most iconic roles in musical theater, of Hume-Fogg Academic High School's Ava Locknar. Now a senior in Daron Bruce's and Lisa Forbis' renowned musical theatre program at the school, Ava's been at home on Broadway - albeit Nashville's Broadway - for four years, although it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to envision her on the Great White Way, taking on more musical theater challenges.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MAGGIE HUTCHISON
October 29, 2018

Another in the long line of impressive talents who are part of the legacy of musical theater at Nashville's Belmont University, Maggie Hutchison claims the spotlight once more in this semester's eagerly anticipated production of Side Show, in which she is one of two actresses cast in the role of Daisy Hilton.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 29, 2018
October 28, 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 29, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...

BWW Review: Radical Arts' EVIL DEAD, THE MUSICAL is Bloody Good Halloween Fun
October 28, 2018

Forget about those whiny, cry-baby Walking Dead fans and the increasing din of their lamentations regarding the imminent demise of Rick Grimes from their universe and instead focus your attention and horror film-inspired energies on Evil Dead, The Musical - a wickedly wild and ridiculously off-kilter send-up of the genre - now onstage in a terrifically entertaining, if uneven, production from Radical Arts, the little theater company who, for all intents and purposes, can.

BWW Review: After 30 Years, PHANTOM Has Lost None of Its Gilt-Edged Luster
October 27, 2018

Thirty years after its Broadway premiere - and just two-and-a-half years since its last run at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center - Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera returns to Music City in celebration of that momentous anniversary with another stand in Andrew Jackson Hall, replete with all the firepower and starpower one so readily associates with the production. And Nashville aduiences once more respond with rapt attention and thunderous applause, almost as if they are witnessing the Phantom's exploits for the very first time.

BWW Review: Street Theatre Company's BROOKLYN: THE MUSICAL Caps a Remarkable 2018 Season at STC
October 26, 2018

Part contemporary fairy tale/part modern day parable about lost love, missed chances and the cruelty of fate, Brooklyn: The Musical, is given a startlingly good production by Nashville's Street Theatre Company, with strong direction by Bakari King (the much-in-demand peripatetic - and multi-hyphenated - actor/singer/director/choreographer/producer/educator) and the consistently impressive performances by an ensemble of nine actors who bring the show to life with palpable vitality and remarkable commitment.

High School Drama: Ravenwood High School's KELLY WHITLOW
October 22, 2018

Theater people love to talk - especially about other theater people. So it should come as no surprise that it was during a recent conversation with Nashville theater choreographer extraordinaire Tosha Pendergrast that the name of Ravenwood High School's Kelly Whitlow came up.

SAVE THE DATE: Nashville Theater Calendar for October 22, 2018
October 21, 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 22, 2018, to help you plot your course through the end of the year...

BWW Review: Director McDonald Raises the Bar With CCP's Remarkable SWEENEY TODD
October 21, 2018

Fog comes billowing out over the footlights, bringing with it a pervasive sense of foreboding that sets the tone for the next three hours of what is - without any fear of exaggeration - the most satisfying theatrical experience of 2018. Eye-poppingly gorgeous, with a design aesthetic that's perfectly wedded to the source material provided by composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and book writer Hugh Wheeler, and featuring some of the most electrifying performances we've ever witnessed at Cumberland County Playhouse (where they know a thing or 100 about staging musicals), Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is spectacular.

The Man Behind the Mask: Quentin Oliver Lee of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
October 19, 2018

Quentin Oliver Lee, the man behind the mask - the dynamic singer/actor leads the national company of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, now on tour throughout the United States - first stepped onstage in the iconic role during its Memphis run earlier this year and he freely admits that the experience left him eager to return to Tennessee to perform on the stage of Nashville's Andrew Jackson Hall.

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 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 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 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, 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 15, 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 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 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 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 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, 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...



...
4