Laura Ellis | Photo by Ben Marcum
Laura Ellis | Photo by Ben Marcum

If you tend to support local causes, businesses and events, chances are you’ve seen or heard Laura Ellis in action. By day, she’s a news producer at WFPL-FM, but by night, you might find her fronting the “bourbon jazz band” (her words) Billy Goat Strut Revue, or harmonizing with her new Andrews Sisters-style trio The Birdies, or acting in plays by Pandora Productions, Looking for Lilith Theatre Co. and Theatre [502].

The Birdies feature Laura Ellis, Brigid Kaelin and Susan Crocker | Photo by Joe Mays
The Birdies feature Laura Ellis, Brigid Kaelin and Susan Crocker | Photo by Joe Mays

Ellis produces “Strange Fruit” for WFPL, a weekly talk show that focuses on race, gender and LGBT issues (it airs Saturday nights at 10 p.m.). Her next acting gig will be in Theatre [502]’s “Failure: A Love Story” in November, and you can hear her sound design handy work right now at all three of this season’s Kentucky Shakespeare Festival shows. Also, The Birdies will make their debut at Saturday’s #LoveWins Victory Party hosted by the Fairness Campaign.

We’re not really sure when Ellis has time to sleep, but the Germantown resident is nearly always beaming with smiles and warm greetings, and she can throw down bourbon like a proper Kentucky lady.

We pried Ellis away from her many responsibilities — including her chihuahua named Wilson (“who is beloved on Instagram but feared in person,” she says) — to ask her some very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

I only have two things on my Bucket List right now: record a Christmas album, and perform Foley sound effects live. I don’t think anyone would be surprised by either one of them! Seeing Stevie Wonder in concert was on there, too, but CHECK!

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

Freddy gets the key?
Freddy gets the key?

I can’t remember any posters! My room was always a complete disaster area with no thought paid to decorating or cleanliness. I did have a really cool Garfield phone, though. Not to brag.

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

Freddy Farm Bureau, because I love the State Fair, and because it would be like a normal-sized key to him!

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

Depends greatly on my mood. Sometimes just cheese. Sometimes green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Really anything but meat.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

If you put me in the body of a 23-year-old, I’d be dangerous. Could I be 500 for a week and make a bunch of money as the Oldest Woman in the World? Honestly, I’d rather switch gender/sex for a week than age … for reasons that are largely unprintable.

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

Nancy Carroll
Nancy Carroll

Most people say Luuuuucy. But I think it’s mostly because I wear vintage hairdos and make funny faces. Greg and Abigail Maupin told me I look like 1930s actress Nancy Carroll. That’s just one of the many reasons I love the Maupins so much.

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

Does it have to be a person? Actually, I bet if I were stuck on an elevator with someone who was scared of elevators, I’d be so distracted trying to calm them down I wouldn’t have time to be bored or freak out. BUT, if it can be an animal, I choose a red panda — a bunch of red pandas.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle ( She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."