An associate artistic director of Roundabout Theatre Company, Ellis has been nominated for Tony Awards eight times, but has never won. This season he was nominated as Best Director of a Musical for She Loves Me, which he lost to Hamilton.
In previous seasons he directed On the 20th Century, Steel Pier, 1776, Twelve Angry Men, Curtains, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and The Elephant Man. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for directing an episode of TV's 30 Rock.
Sorkin announced Ellis at Variety's annual TV summit in Beverly Hills, CA. NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt said the broadcast is likely to take place in February 2017, but the date is not locked in yet. NBC pioneered the renaissance of live musicals on TV, with its The Sound of Music Live! Peter Pan Live and The Wiz Live! With A Few Good Men, the network is now branching into non-musical live plays.
The A Few Good Men project has been rumored for several years, and both producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan had stated that a live adaptation of a Broadway drama was on their wish list. A Broadway revival that was aiming to bow during the 2010-11 season never materialized.
“The one thing I will tell you is that our goal is to also grow into a situation where we're doing a live musical and a live drama each year,” Zadan told Playbill.com. “We would love to do the right play with the right cast, and it has to be exactly right because it can't be something that appears like PBS. It has to be something that looks like it's a great entertainment, that's dramatic and has a stellar cast that people would watch. We're looking forward to branching out into that area too, to experiment and to see what happens. We're looking to explore this world of live television.”
Sorkin, an Emmy winner for The West Wing, authored the play about two Marines accused of killing another serviceman. It played Broadway in 1989 and was adapted into a 1992 film, directed by Rob Reiner, that starred Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.
A Few Good Men marked Sorkin's professional debut.
He has newly adapted the script for the upcoming television treatment. Sorkin will produce along with Meron and Zadan.
Sorkin is an Academy Award winner for The Social Network and received an Academy Award nomination for Moneyball. His writing credits also include The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The Newsroom and The Farnsworth Invention.
“I am thrilled that Aaron Sorkin is coming back to NBC to adapt and produce a live broadcast of his electrifying play A Few Good Men, which seems as timely as ever today,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in an earlier statement. “Aaron is one of the most acclaimed theater, television and film authors of our time, and I am pleased that the live event business that we pioneered with musicals is now expanding into other genres and attracting artists of his caliber. I look forward to his collaboration with our ‘A-team’ producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, to bring another exciting piece of live drama to a broad audience.”
(Updated June 14, 2016)