In the theater, Elissa most recently played Queen Emer in W. B. Yeats' The Only Jealousy of Emer directed by Ray Yeates in APT 929's production at Torn Page. NewYorkArts.net had this to say about Elissa and the piece: In the "convincing (indeed outstanding) production... mounted by Torn Page Apartment 929... Elissa Middleton was nuanced, colored, and eloquent as Emer, bringing off her social persona in the introduction with sophistication floating on a cloud of seasoned spiritual research, evoking thoughts of Georgie or perhaps Lady Gregory as well... This was an unforgettable immersion in Yeats’ poetry and Noh-inspired drama."
Last year Elissa played Margo in Laura Shamus' Up to Date. Recent roles also include the Baroness in the US Premiere of Lermontov's Masquerade, directed by Sam Helfrich, performed in concert with the 50-piece String Orchestra of Brooklyn, playing Aram Khachaturian's Masquerade Suite. Elissa directed and starred in the premiere of Meredith Anthony's grim noir, Murder on the Main Line at Manhattan Repertory Theater in the Fall of 2015. She directed the world premiere of Bambi Everson's Neither Here Noir There at Manhattan Rep in early 2017.
On film, Elissa will be seen as Jeannie Berlin's daughter in the upcoming feature, Faraway Eyes, written and directed by Harry Greenberger. She also played Lindsay in (writer, director and DP) Niav Conty's upcoming feature Small Time. Elissa executive produced Clark Middleton's short film My Milonga, in which she also played opposite Ewen Bremner. A clip from the film can be seen on her reel, here.
Elissa played Helena Marais Rosenthal in James Bosley's play BROAD CHANNEL with UP Theater Company in NYC in 2014. In January of that year she also revived William Leavengood’s one-woman play SPECIAL (about autism) at the American Stage in St. Petersburg, which she had premiered at Theatre Row on 42nd Street, NYC. In November 2013, Elissa played Sunny in Sally Nemeth’s play MILL FIRE, in an Ivy Theater production that was part of two NYC festivals: EstroGenius and the Harvest Theater Festival. She also played the lead in Craig Lucas’ Reckless on East 4th St, directed by her husband Clark Middleton with the wonderful actor Matthew Cowles playing her many shrinks.
Elissa edits Blue Note Records' magazine, Out of the Blue, which is included in the Blue Note Review, a subscription-only box set. Volume 2 of the Blue Note Review is due out this Fall, and to it Elissa contributes both an interview about drummer Tony Williams with Billy Hart and Victor Lewis, and her stand-alone oral history of jazz drums, Spirit & Time, illustrated with Francis Woolf photos from Michael Cuscuna's Blue Note archive.
Elissa has published nonfiction about travel, politics, film, and art in the NY Times and elsewhere. She speaks conversational Spanish, Portuguese, French and Czech; co-directs the production company and performance space Apt 929; and occasionally sings jazz at Smalls, NYC. Her extensive work as a copy editor has given her prodigious facility with the language of the medical and legal worlds as well.
Training includes Meisner work with William Esper and Maggie Flanigan; scene study with Austin Pendelton, Laura Esterman, Susan Aston and Deborah Hedwall; voice, speech and Shakespeare with Shane-Ann Younts; and movement in several styles, including extended Martha Graham workshops. She has also studied with Jon Shear for the last year or two.