Fringe Star Darin Ellis dead at 24

Darin Ellis, a gifted actor and singer who had a featured part in the Capital Fringe show Assembly Required: How to Write, Produce and Stage a Musical, the Musical, died on July 22. According to his aunt, the cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Darin Ellis' official head shot

Ellis was a student at Signature Theatre’s musical training program, Overtures, and local talent evaluators had predicted a promising future for him. No Rules Theater Company co-artistic directors Joshua Morgan and Brian Sutrow, who had cast him in Assembly Required, spoke expansively about both of his skills and his cheery backstage presence.

“He was a fabulous guy with incomparable talent,” Morgan said. “While developing our most recent Fringe show…we came up with a bit just for Darin to showcase his remarkable voice. He was game right from the get go and always brought so much joy to the rehearsal room and his performances. He was only able to perform 3 out of the 5 shows and stopped the show every night…He was a friend and a colleague who I admired and looked up to. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

Sutrow concurred. “Darin was a lovely and talented guy.  We were looking forward to collaborating with him more. At our auditions for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, he blew me away with his rendition of ‘Run Away with Me.’  While we realize we were lucky to have had him for as long as we did, we are all incredibly sad at his passing.”

“Darin was one of the most personable young singers I have met since I have been writing about the young talent in our area for DCTS,” said DCTS columnist Joel Markowitz said. “I saw him last week…The audience went nuts when he finished (a song in the show). He had this broad smile, great charm, and his voice was simply gorgeous. It’s a great loss for our theatre community, his family and his friends at Overtures….”

Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer is organizing a celebration in his honor at the theater on August 9 at 8 p.m. For more information, call 703.820.9771.

Friends are leaving messages on Ellis’ Facebook page.

“The evening his aunt called to tell me he had passed, she told me that he was having a ‘fabulous time in the show’ and that she was grateful he passed doing what he loved.,” Morgan said.

Tim Treanor About Tim Treanor

Tim Treanor is a senior writer for DC Theatre Scene. He is a 2011 Fellow of the National Critics Institute and has written over 600 reviews for DCTS. His novel, "Capital City," with Lee Hurwitz, is scheduled for publication by Astor + Blue in November of 2016. He lives in a log home in the woods of Southern Maryland with his dear bride, DCTS Editor Lorraine Treanor. For more Tim Treanor, go to


  1. John Dellaporta says:

    Darin and I had done Treemonisha with the Washington Savoyards earlier this year, and we, along with Mikey Caferelli, had such a great time working together that we were starting to organize a cabaret of our own, just to keep working together, keep singing, keep having fun.  Darin would hear a fierce singer or have an awesome friend and immediately want to figure out a way to showcase them.  That was something – as talented he was (very VERY), he was equally obsessed with finding ways to elevate and celebrate other people, and that is something incredible.

  2. julie jacobson says:

    Ms Bivens:  I’m sorry for your loss.  I saw Darin in Assembly Required last Tuesday and he was working in a wonderful show when he passed.
    Julie Jacobson 

  3. Frank Britton says:

    I had the privilege of seeing Darin on only two occasions: in ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, and seeing him audition at Leagues earlier this year. He was simply wonderful.  I never got to know him, but he radiated such an energy and warmth that I really wish I did get to know him.

  4. I saw him Wednesday night and he was great.  He had a beautiful voice and was so cheerful, I don’t think that was all acting.  What a loss for the DC theater scene.

  5. Kellie Ellis Bivens says:

    Thank you for writing this article on my son it is much appreciated. He will be missed and I am thankful for the show you are doing in his honor…



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