Sarah T. Ellis (T’08)

Summer 2015 - Sarah Taylor Ellis (T’08) is loving life in NYC. She is currently composing a "steampunk Regency" musical adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma in collaboration with Ovation Award-winning playwright Meghan Brown (a fellow Duke in London participant in 2006). Last spring, Sarah dramaturged "Untuned Ears Hear Nothing But Discord" for The Songs of Ben Toth at Lincoln Center; this song cycle centers on the lifelong friendship between anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman as composer Ben Toth and lyricist Meghan Brown develop the project into a one-act musical. Sarah hopes to visit Duke later this year to study the collection of Goldman's letters in the rare book and manuscript library. After two years of freelance teaching artistry, Sarah recently accepted a full-time faculty position with the Nightingale-Bamford School, where she serves as a teacher, music director/accompanist, and composer-in-residence. 

Summer 2014 - Sarah is a composer, music director, and teaching artist based in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She recently composed a chamber musical adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper (libretto by Lane Williamson), which is being produced by DC's Pallas Theatre Collective from July 1 - 6, 2014. Pallas has also commissioned her to write a Jane Austen-inspired musical for the 2016 meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Sarah recently music directed As You Like It at Two River Theater (music by Ben Toth) and an evening of her own music at 54 Below, not to mention dozens of awesome children's shows. Sarah is a teaching artist in music composition and music direction for Roundabout Theater Company, Harlem School of the Arts, P.S.41, School of the Future, and more. Sarah is also hoping to revise her dissertation ("Doing the Time Warp: Queer Temporalities and Musical Theater") into a book over the next year.

Summer 2013 - Sarah Taylor Ellis (T’08) completed her Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from UCLA in March 2013; her dissertation is entitled "Doing the Time Warp: Queer Temporalities and Musical Theater." She is currently working as a composer and freelance music director in NYC. Sarah recently performed a solo concert of music written with lyricist Lane Williamson at The Underground. This summer, she will music direct the table read of Usher for Pallas Theater Collective, as well as summer musical theater programs at Harlem School of the Arts and Abrons Arts Center. She tweets at @staylorellis.

Summer 2012 - Ellis was just awarded a dissertation year fellowship to complete her PhD in Theater & Performance Studies at UCLA; she will graduate in spring 2013. Sarah is a theater critic and arts blogger for L.A. Weekly and Stage and Cinema. She recently dramaturged Cyclops: A Rock Opera, which had a sold out and extended run at NYMF 2011, and she is currently music directing Fellowship! The Musical Parody of The Fellowship of the Ring with a company of awesome improv actors in Hollywood.

Spring 2011 - Ellis is a third-year PhD student in Theater and Performance Studies at UCLA and a theater critic for EDGE Los Angeles. Sarah recently music-directed the UCLA productions of Is There Life After High School, Happy Endand Gone Missing. Her new family musical Thank You, Mr. Falker - with book and lyrics by fellow Duke grad Andrew Bentz - will premiere at Santa Monica's Morgan-Wixson Theatre in May 2011.

Winter 2010- Ellis will begin her third year in UCLA's Theater and Performance Studies PhD program in fall 2010.  She is currently co-chairing the second national graduate student conference in performance studies, assistant music directing the UCLA Theater department's spring production of Cabaret, and writing a short new musical to premiere in the West Village Musical Theater Festival this June.  A new children's musical, Thank You, Mr. Falker - written with fellow Duke graduates Julia Robertson and Andrew Bentz - will be workshopped at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica this summer and premiere next season.  Sarah was recently published in Studies in Musical Theatre and has upcoming paper presentations at IFTR, ATHE, and the Porter Symposium on musical theater.

Summer 2009 - Sarah T. Ellis (T’08) is in her second year in UCLA's Theater and Performance Studies Ph.D. program.  This summer, she presented a paper to the emerging scholars panel for Music Theatre/Dance at ATHE.  Her paper, "Establishing (and Reestablishing) a Sense of Place: Musical Orientation in The Sound of Music," will be published this upcoming
winter in the journal Studies in Musical Theatre.  Along with fellow Duke graduates Andrew Bentz and Julia Robertson, Sarah is also writing a new children's musical for the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica.