Michael Ellison

Courses Taught :

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Musical Theatre
  • Theatrical Visions: Utilizing Theatrical Tools for Social Change
  • Acting: Songs and Arias
  • Performance for Entrepreneurs
  • Humanities Troupe
  • Dynamic Presence
  • Acting for Dancers

Institutions/Professional Companies with which Dr. Ellison has worked :

He has received degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX (BA) and the University of Arizona (MA).  Dr. Ellison received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, interviewing 147 working Actor/Singer/Dancers for his dissertation "Challenges of the Triple Threat".

For several years, Dr. Ellison served as a judge for Region III (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin) of the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF), sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C.  In 2015 he served as a state judge for the finals of the Ohio Community Theatre Association.  In 2017 he will adjudicate the fionals for the Region III American Association of Community Theatre in Champaign, Illinois.

An active member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Dr. Ellison has served as both Conference Planner and Focus Group Representative for the Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group. He served as the Vice President for ATHE's 20th Anniversary 2006 Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Ellison has also taught master classes in musical theatre from Fort Worth, Texas to Fredericia, Denmark, from Portland, Maine to Manila, in the Philippines.

In 2014 and 2016 Dr. Ellison served as performance coach for the presenters for TEDxToledo.  In addition, he will be giving a TED talk for TEDxToledo entitled "Breathing Into Beyond" in September 2016.

Production or Film Credits:

Dr. Ellison staged a world premiere concert, "The Music of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg in Concert," in Manila, the Philippines, starring Lea Salonga of Miss Saigon fame. He worked on an original musical, Free Fall, with music by Jeffrey Biering and book by Bruce Linser, which had a workshop performance in New York City at The Broadway Theatre Institute in 2004. That same year Dr. Ellison directed The Fantasticks at the Huron Playhouse and taught master classes both in NYC and at Tanglewood.

He has directed and/or choreographed a wide range of shows in his many years at BGSU, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Songs for a New World, Chicago, Spring Awakening, and Legally Blonde.

Dr. Ellison wrote the book, lyric, most of lead vocal lines, and directed the original musical Key Changes, which had a workshop production at Bowling Green State University before its New York showcase production in 2010 at the Harry Warren Theatre (an Off Off Broadway house located in Brooklyn), with composer and musical arranger Damian Stout.  He and co-author Melanie Stinson created a 28 page treatment for the original show "Being Magic: A Journey Toward (W)hole-ness," which is currently being shopped around.

Union or Professional Organizations :

  • ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education), member since 1999; Conference Committee, member since 1999; Vice President of Conference 2006; Interactive Theatre Subcommittee Chair 2014, 2015
  • CSCA (Central States Communication Association)
  • American College Theatre Festival
  • Musical Theatre Educator's Alliance (MTEA)
  • Board of Trustees for The Toledo Ballet

Research / Publications :

Dr. Ellison's research interests include musical theatre pedagogy, acting and directing on stage and screen, the use of stillness on stage and screen, and the actor/singer/dancer as a model for integrating skills.  He is also interested in how the arts can help people open their minds and claim theri power.

In 2015, he co-founded (artist Melanie Stinson) Being Magic Creations, LLC, dedicated to utilizing the arts and play to help people find, claim, and celebrate the power of their own uniqueness.  They have co-facilitated a number of transformational workshops in NW Ohio, such as "Playing for a Change" for The Victory Center.

His essay "Do Not Try This At Home" is a chapter in the anthology Setting the Stage for Social Justice, edited by Norma Bowles and Daniel Nadonand, and published by Southern Illinois Press in 2013.

With Professor Lubomir Popov, he co-authored Performance, Space, Time: The Production of Interiority in the Black Rock City, which was published in the Spring 2013 edition of Interiors: Design, Architechure, and Culture.

Hi co-authored with graduate student David Sollish, an article titled "Dancing Intimacy and Its Loss," which was published in the Fall 2008 edition of The Sondheim Review.  Dr. Ellison co-authored, with Dr. Lesa Lockford, an article on the musical Evita and the commodification of personality, which appeared in the 2004 issue of Theatre Annual. With graduate student Travis Malone, he has co-authored an article on the musical Chicago on stage and screen, the findings of which were presented at the Central States Communication Association conference in Cleveland, Ohio in March 2004.  His article "Movement Considerations for Actor/Puppeteers" was published in The Puppetry Yearbook in 2002.