BWW Review: LeMoine's Miss Trunchbull Steals the Show in Expression City's MATILDABWW Review: LeMoine's Miss Trunchbull Steals the Show in Expression City's MATILDA
by Jeffrey Ellis - Mar 30, 2019

Can there be a better way to capture Matilda's spirit so evocatively than in musical theater (the musical debuted on the West End in 2010 and made its subsequent New York transfer in 2013) - a journey through which her soulful, heartfelt ascent into a literary hierarchy (in which readers can live vicariously) be charted? Matilda's forays into her fictional world of devil-may-care adventure, oftentimes aided by her gift for telekinesis or her penchant for clever tricks (like switching her father's hair oil with her mother's peroxide is just one of her intriguingly contrived comeuppances) - which is at once darker than other offerings of similar ilk, yet somehow rather more confectionary than even the fluffiest of musical comedies that have come before or since - lend themselves exquisitely to Matilda the Musical, the stage version of the tale that makes an impact due to its somehow hopeful outlook, despite everything that exists to crush the spirit of its young protagonist. (more...)

BWW Review: Nashville Rep's Timely - and Timeless - Take on INHERIT THE WINDBWW Review: Nashville Rep's Timely - and Timeless - Take on INHERIT THE WIND
by Jeffrey Ellis - Mar 30, 2018

Theater's power to illuminate and to elucidate even while offering diverting entertainment has perhaps never been felt so strongly as in Nashville Repertory Theatre's engaging version of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Inherit the Wind, a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, now onstage at TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre through April 25. (more...)

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for April 19, 2017
by Jeffrey Ellis - Apr 19, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! And a gracious good morning to Kate Adams Kramer, our very first Theaterati cover girl! Today we are pondering the theatrical question of 'Kevin Spacey...Tony Awards host...what the hell?' Perhaps you might opine about that bit of news and share your impressions with us: we promise not to tell a soul! (more...)

Critic's Choice: Spring is Here...Dance Into The Theater This Weekend
by Jeffrey Ellis - Apr 12, 2017

Spring is here! Why doesn't my heart go dancing? Well, Mr. Lorenz Hart, personally, we are too damn busy with creating the magic of live theater: We're directing a show (Daddy's Dyin'…Who's Got the Will? opens next week - April 20 - at The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson, thank you very much) and trying to make it out to see as much theater in Nashville as possible before old age takes its toll - it's tough out there for a theater critic! (more...)

BWW Review: Larry Shue's THE NERD at Chaffin's Barn
by Jeffrey Ellis - Mar 26, 2017

Larry Shue's The Nerd brings with it a fairly healthy and reasonably impressive theater pedigree: more than 400 performances on Broadway, critical acclaim and audience adulation for its West End run (in fact, it was the most successful American play running there in 1986), scores of regional and community theater productions and it was the follow-up to his wonderfully funny and politically prescient The Foreigner. But like so many things that were popular during the 1980s - the "abdominizer," Cabbage Patch kids and friendship bracelets, Jelly shoes and Jordache jeans - time hasn't been so great to The Nerd and we're left wondering, incredulously and imploringly, "What the hell?" (more...)

BWW Review: THE ODD COUPLE Leads Off the Next 50 Years at Chaffin's Barn
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jan 15, 2017

Nashville's historic and iconic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre - now led by Norma Luther, the gracious and charming new owner - launches its second half century on the venerated chow and bow circuit with a sparkling new revival of Neil Simon's equally historic and iconic The Odd Couple, now onstage through February 12. Directed by longtime artistic director and the doyenne of Music City theater, Martha Wilkinson, this iteration of Simon's hilarious play about two mismatched friends who attempt to navigate the waters of post-divorce life together is performed by a stellar cast of local actors who breathe new life into their characters and somehow manage to give audiences a fresh perspective on the enduring comedy. (more...)

Photo Coverage: 2016 First Night Preview Party
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jul 20, 2016

Two Broadway veterans join with a group of seven of Tennessee's most enduring, influential and outstanding theater artists to comprise the Class of 2016 First Night Honorees, who were revealed Monday night during the annual First Night preview party, hosted by First Night founder and executive producer Jeffrey Ellis. (more...)

BWW Review: Blackbird and Lipscomb's Riveting THE CRUCIBLE
by Jeffrey Ellis - Feb 20, 2016

Beki Baker's extraordinary direction, which provides a stunningly fresh perspective of Arthur Miller's stage masterpiece - along with remarkable performances from a cast of both professional and student actors - ensures that audiences will long be considering the impact of The Crucible, now onstage at Shamblin Theater through February 28, after the final curtain is rung down on this joint production of Blackbird Theater and Lipscomb University Department of Theatre. (more...)

CRITIC'S CHOICE: Scaring Up Theatrical Fun for Halloween
by Jeffrey Ellis - Oct 30, 2015

It's Halloween weekend and every dramatic personage and theatrical type we've ever encountered is caught up in the annual rush to find just the right costume for their holiday revelries (we confess we've never had the knack for coming up with Halloween get-ups - not since we went in drag to a party at the First Baptist Church as the age of 12…tongues were wagging, we are certain, but we lived to tell about it, so it couldn't have been that bad). In the meantime, there are all sorts of onstage happenings this weekend to keep you otherwise engaged should the difficulty of selecting your costume prove to be too much. (more...)

Nashville Theater Calendar 10/26/15
by Jeffrey Ellis - Oct 26, 2015

Sometimes it seems there is so much theater happening that it's difficult to keep track of it all. From personal experience, despite all the datebooks, smart phones, tablets, desktop computers and laptops...it's hard to keep everything straight in this wacky business of the show. (more...)

Nashville Theater Calendar 10/24/15
by Jeffrey Ellis - Oct 24, 2015

Sometimes it seems there is so much theater happening that it's difficult to keep track of it all. From personal experience, despite all the datebooks, smart phones, tablets, desktop computers and laptops...it's hard to keep everything straight in this wacky business of the show. (more...)

CRITICS' CHOICE: Theater To Keep The Frost Off the Pumpkin
by Jeffrey Ellis - Oct 23, 2015

There's the definite feeling of autumn in the air that makes you want to gut a pumpkin or at least have a pumpkin spice latte, chances are you are definitely going to need a sweater in the early morning hours, and it's past the perfect time for you to pick out a Halloween costume. Luckily, theater companies are well into their new seasons and there's plenty of shows to entertain you while you take time off from berating yourself for wearing that same tricked-out Star Wars costume you wore the past fwo-and-one-half years. (more...)

CRITIC'S CHOICE: We're Back With Some Tips for Fall
by Jeffrey Ellis - Oct 15, 2015

We're back! After an extended absence due to The Last Five Years (we directed it to boffo notices from our critical colleagues), The 2015 First Night Honors (which played to SRO crowds at Chaffin's Barn in September) and a sense of overwhelming malaise and ennui (we are ever so dramatic at times), BWW Nashville's Critic's Choice is back on the interwebs, offering you our insights and advice on the shows that are coming up and what you should try to find time to see - or to avoid at all costs, depending on our perspective. (more...)

Nashville Rep Stages ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, Now thru 10/31
by BWW News Desk - Oct 8, 2015

Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to present its production of the Tony Award-winning comedy ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, running tonight, October 8, through October 31, 2015 in Johnson Theater at Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  (more...)

Nashville Rep to Stage ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, 10/8-31
by BWW News Desk - Sep 22, 2015

Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to present its production of the Tony Award-winning comedy ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, running October 8-31, 2015 in Johnson Theater at Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  (more...)

Nashville Rep to Stage ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
by BWW News Desk - Sep 10, 2015

Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to present its production of the Tony Award-winning comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, running October 8-31, 2015 in Johnson Theater at Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  (more...)

CRITICS' CHOICE: It's A Big Weekend Onstage
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jul 16, 2015

And Sondra Morton, Jayme Smith and co. (that would be Act Too) stages their company's latest work at the historic Franklin Theatre - The Sound of Music - starring Kimberly Rye as Maria, Cameron Bortz as Rolf and the inimitable Matt Baugher as Georg Von Trapp. Check it out! (more...)

CRITICS' CHOICE: Looking for weekend fun?
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jul 10, 2015

There are four new shows opening in the Middle Tennessee area this weekend, along with several other shows continuing their runs - Nobody's Perfect at Chaffin's Barn, KB Productions' The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, Mary Poppins and Smoke on the Mountain at Cumberland County Playhouse, along with the final performance of Singin' in the Rain - so there's plenty of theater to keep you entertained through a hot July weekend. It's that time of year, so go have some fun! (more...)

CRITICS' CHOICE: What's Happening This Week?
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jul 7, 2015

Summer's theater lull has come to an end and Nashville/Tennessee audiences have a plethora of new openings to choose from iin the next fews days, leading to the season's busiest flush of new shows and productions. Whether it's a relatively new musical based on a fun film, the controversial revival of one of the late 20th century's most iconic musicals or the Nashville premiere of a new film starring some of the region's best known and most talented actors -- there's a lot of good stuff to be seen inside a theater... (more...)

CRITICS' CHOICE: Celebrate America's Independence at the Theater
by Jeffrey Ellis - Jul 2, 2015

Can you believe that it's already time to celebrate Independence Day - aka The Fourth of July - with the biggest-in-the-country fireworks display right here in Music City USA? We know how to celebrate America's Independence right here in Nashville and we expect even more tourists (playwright/actor/director/producer/bon vivant Del Shores is in town, for example, to get a taste of a down-home good time) than normal to fill our city's streets over the four-day holiday weekend. (more...)

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