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Hendrix Magazine on Director Daniel Ellis

THE ELEPHANT MAN - Williams Street Repertory

“There’s something quite engrossing with this production. Being seated onstage makes for quite an intimate, if not captivating, experience and the ensemble more than superbly brings to life the last six years of Englishman Joseph (aka John) Merrick’s life to a satisfying tribute.... Daniel Ellis’ sensitive, intuitive and astutely intelligent direction provides a perfect balance between emotional and cerebral involvement.

— Northwest Herald (Regina Belt-Daniels)


THE BEAUX' STRATEGEM - Theatre in the Round

2nd Place Prize - American Prize for Directing

“Fine setting and costumes, but most importantly, all actors are “ in the moment”. Not easy to achieve in period comedy. The humor is broad, as fits the style, but absolutely full of life...This production benefits from Ellis’ inspired work, focused on interaction and energy, making a very good case for this delightful restoration comedy.” 

— American Prize Competition Judge’s Comments

Best Overall Production – Lavender Magazine's Year in Review

Director Daniel Ellis has made certain that every single scene is simultaneously well spoken, madcap Restoration in style, and fluidly natural….All of Ellis’s briskly paced actors portray the machinations with saucy relish and just the right touch of grandiosity.”

— Lavender Magazine (John Townsend)

WOZZECK - McVicar Production (Genève)

At the Opéra des Nations, the grinding machine designed by Alban Berg is doing its work without false note, in the beautiful production of David McVicar…Thanks to a remarkable direction of actors (to whom Daniel Ellis must be praised, who revived the staging of 2015), empathy works from the very first scene: poor Wozzeck appears as a hunted beast, punctuating with anxiety-rousing attention the captivating remarks of his Captain.

Le Courrier (Christophe Imperiali)

Its musical and dramatic richness does not cease attracting conductors, directors and artists and justifies the interest which one can carry to any new production. The one offered by the Grand Théâtre de Genève, originally created at the Lyric Opera in Chicago in November 2015 and due to David Mc Vicar, taken up here by Daniel Ellis, is an undeniable success on all levels.

- (Gérard Ferrand)

David McVicar , to whom we owe the staging of this Wozzeck , affirms it and keeps his promise: it is an "urgent cry for more compassion". Everything works together: a high-flying distribution, without weakness, served by a staging of anthology. This European creation of the production carried out in November 2015 for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, here entrusted to Daniel Ellis, stands out for his intelligence and his scrupulous consideration of stage directions. To have breath, the realization is nonetheless extremely detailed. Everything makes sense….Even in the most stripped scenes, it is always a feast for the eye. Add to that an excellent direction of actors, where everything is true, just, adjusted to the millimeter, and you will have already realized the exceptional character of this production.

- (Yvan Beuvard)

WOZZECK - McVicar Production (Helsinki)

“When the Finnish National Opera for the first time mounted this seminal work it was in David McVicar’s production, originally created for Chicago Lyric Opera. How far Daniel Ellis’s revival direction deviates from the original I do not know, but it is a taut, intense performance, even more engaging thanks to the wise decision to play it as an integrated unit without intervals. The intensity never lets up. Most of the action takes place on a narrow strip of the stage –the audience is very close to the action and between the fifteen scenes a low curtain is closed and opened by invisible hands. The production is realistic, you could call it kitchen sink realism, and there is a very tangible sense of shabbiness....It is a cruel and at times disgusting story but life is not always a rose garden. This production, however, deserves roses aplenty.”

— Seen and Heard International (Göran Forsling)

McVicar's production set up by Daniel Ellis is intelligent and powerful in its impressive detail. The colorful scenes in the tavern and the barracks work just as well as the intimate moments. The action takes place in the shadow of the First World War where Berg himself experienced the army's institutionalized brutality.” 

— Hufvudstadsblade (Jan Grenberg)

THE ODD COUPLE - Lyric Arts Mainstage

“I'm not sure Lyric could have found a more perfect Oscar/Felix pair than Don Maloney and Bill Williamson. Both thoroughly embody the laid-back slobbiness/nervous fastidiousness of their characters. And both give natural and lived-in performances, totally in the moment, reacting to what the other says or does. Part of the fun is watching each watch the other. Bill (who recently returned to the stageafter nearly 20 years -welcome back, sir!) is particularly endearing and imbues Felix with a jittery physicality as he slides across the floor, doing double takes, constantly wiping his brow. The supporting cast is just as great playing the four specificallytyped poker buddies (Christopher Zanetti, David Vandergriff, Rick Wyman, and Steve Florman) and the giggly Pigeon sisters (Allison Hawleyand Caitlin Wilkey). They make a great sitcom ensemble under the direction of Daniel Ellis, keeping the tone light and the pace quick.


A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Lyric Arts Mainstage

"Director Daniel Ellis weaves a marvelous and fantastical retelling of such a wonderfully classic story. Without modernizing the Victorian setting and language, Ellis has transformed the setting with a Steampunk twist. The story is at times funny, alarming, and always heartwarming. Ellis has created a wonderfully believable setting without causing the audience to feel out of place or time with the story."

- Kylie Schultz

" makes for a darker, grittier, more sinister Dickensian world. Working from an adaptation by Michael Wilson that focuses more on the ghost aspect of the story, director Daniel Ellis and his team have created a version of A Christmas Carol that's spooky, wacky, and fun to look at..."

- (Jill Schafer)

SCARLET WOMAN - Edmonton Fringe Festival, Winnipeg Fringe Festival

"intelligent and brilliantly executed theatrical thriller. An absolute joy.”

– Vue Weekly, Edmonton

“Spoofing the film noir thriller is a well-mined genre on its own. You wonder how there could possibly be more gold to find....Candy Simmons and Brittany Parker, who never miss a step as they disappear into 12 separate characters. The lines come as fast and furious as the costume and character changes. This is witty stuff. It’s very, very funny, but it never disrespects the genre by descending into silliness.

– Winnipeg Free Press (Julie Carl)

“Scarlet Woman is a briskly paced, fast-talking, and very funny homage to film noir thrillers.…the rewards of this show aren't just in watching the Gordian knot of intrigue finally unravel (Twist ending!), they're in the witty banter, the sharp timing, the noir atmosphere, and the first-rate performances.”

– CBC Review (Dean Jenkinson) 

BLOOD BROTHERS - Weekend Theatre Company

“Everything about this show—the well composed story line, the quirky but powerful music and lyrics, and the immensely talented director, Daniel Ellis, and his cast—is magnificent...Rather than confining his cast to the small stage, he masterfully uses the entire theatre to deliver this show...the audience misses nothing thanks to Ellis’ ability to sort it all out and to present it coherently. 

— The Maumelle Monitor (Christy L. Smith)

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC - Weekend Theatre Company

“Ellis’ directorial endeavor deserves applause. The Weekend Theatre is a small intimate theatre that lends itself to smaller productions. With a cast of nearly 20 actors, A Little Night Music needed perfect acting, directing, and choreography to fit The Weekend Theatre’s stage, and Ellis make it happen. His production incorporated the smoothest scene changes I’ve ever seen at the Weekend Theatre...A Little Night Music offers insights into the human condition while offering entertainment at a grand scale. The music, dance, signing, and story captivate, making Ellis’ production one of the best in Little Rock this summer.

— Little Rock Free Press (Larry LeMasters)

THE SUM OF US - Weekend Theatre Company

“...the onstage activity is so real and convincing that there is little sign of any obvious direction. Ellis either did a flawless directorial turn or he kept out of the way of these fine actors. Whatever happened in rehearsals has led to a remarkable production.

— The Arkansas Times (Ron Ballard)

THE ELEPHANT MAN - Weekend Theatre Company

“Theatre goers who take a chance with the Weekend Theatre’s production of Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Manwill not leave disappointed for having spent a few hours stepping into the life and sensibilities of a grossly disfigured human being....It is clearly a difficult play to mount but rarely have I been as truly captivated by a performance....Director Daniel Ellis, cast, and crew make excellent and innovative use of limited space and props to tell the story. But the real strength of the production is the chemistry between the characters and the insight they provide into the complex lives they portray. Together they force the audience to make an assessment of their own lives, their own deformities, and their own part in the Elephant Man sagas of every time and place.”

— The Maumelle Monitor (Phyllis Hemann)

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