Robert Ellis Smith as Actor
Robert Ellis Smith, publisher of Privacy Journal, is also an actor. He can be seen as Nunzio Cristano in the New England Repertory Company's production of "Over the River and Through the Woods" in Sharon. Mass., the weekends of April 13-16 and 20-23, 2017.
At the Attleboro Community Theater in Massachusetts in May 2016, he played the role of Dr. Gruber in the intriguing play "The Man From Earth," based on the popular 2007 film.
In Motif magazine, Providence, R.I., theater critic Michael Bilow described, “a uniformly excellent cast in a captivating production” and singled out Smith “as the ever more forceful psychiatrist Gruber, in a superb performance.”
The Sun-Chronicle said: “If you are looking for something to challenge your mind, this is play for you! . . . The conclusion with Ed Benjamin and Robert Ellis Smith is earth-shattering and will leave audiences in awe.” Reporter-Today newspaper called the play “a unique and stirring theatrical experience.”
Smith completed the role of Oxenby in "The Dresser" the MMAS Black Box Theatre in Mansfield, Mass., in January and February 2016. "One of the more humorous moments comes during the performance of 'Lear' when 'Sir' misses his cue and the other actors on stage (including Robert Ellis Smith) have to improvise the scene," according to a review in the Sun-Chronicle. "He did the most with the least in this production," said the producer.
He played Herrick, the marshal, in Rhode Island Stage Ensemble's production of Arthur Miller's acclaimed play "The Crucible" October 16 -25, 2015.
He completed an 11-performance run of the stage production of “Harold and Maude” based on the popular film, at MMAS Black Box Theatre in in February 2015. The "Sun and Chronicle" in Attleboro said in a review, “Also turning in a fine performance is Robert Ellis Smith as the beleaguered Father Finnegan, who tries to minister to each of the characters.”
A year earlier Smith completed a nine-performance run as Juror Nine in “Twelve Angry Men” with Attleboro Community Theater in Massachusetts. In a review, the "Sun and Chronicle" also singled out Smith’s performance: “Juror Nine, played by Robert Ellis Smith, is an older man and has a quiet approach in presenting his views.” The review said the total production was “compelling. . . . in a caliber of any drama that you might watch on television.”
The director, Alex Aponte, said of Smith, “Your debut was phenomenal. You take great direction. You were always finding ways to improve your character. You were very convincing in your physical movements, and it paid off every night.”
He has played three film roles, including the bereaved grandfather in “Infinite Spirits of the Great Blue,” the lead role in an independent film by Mike Fortin of Enue Studios in Rhode Island.
He plays Roger, the estranged father, in “Thanksgiving,” by Messier Productions, also based in Rhode Island. "The acting is excellent" said a film review at the web site loudgreenbird.com. "Thanksgiving" was voted an audience favorite at the Southern New England Film Festival in Providence in April 2016. And Smith played a sports writer in background in “Bleed for This,” the mainstream film about R.I. boxer Vinnie Pazienza.
Smith played Old Adam in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" in outdoor performances in Providence in August 2015 .
Smith took two roles in the ensemble of “The Sound of Music” with Backstage Players Company in Clinton, Conn., in six performances in March 2014. He returned to the Backstage Company in March 2015 to play in the ensemble and the role of Sergeant O'Reilly in “The Producers.” Immediately after "The Producers" in the summer of 2015, he portrayed Dr. Josiah Bartlett in the musical drama "1776" presented by MMAS, Mansfield, Mass.
In July 2014 in Epic Theatre in Cranston, R.I., Smith performed an acclaimed monologue in “Leaving RI,” Kevin Broccoli’s multi-week fantasy about random citizens ordered to leave the state of Rhode Island. “Wonderful job in the show,” said Broccoli of Smith’s performance.
In 2004, Smith wrote and performed “Buddy and Me,” a collection of funny stories told to him by former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, in the Empire Theatre on Block Island.
He studied acting with Mike Messier in the summer of 2013 and with Steve Blackwood in 2014.
Smith is a journalist who uses his training as an attorney to report on individuals’ rights to privacy. He publishes Privacy Journal newsletter and has written a dozen books on the subject. He is a frequent public speaker, having appeared before more than 500 trade associations, university groups, and civil-liberties groups. He has appeared on national television interview programs more than 70 times in his career and on radio about 200 times. He is a regular radio voice on WWL New Orleans and WPRI in Providence. Formerly he was a regular contributor to “Marketplace,” the business news program on public radio.
Smith has taught courses at Harvard College, University of Maryland, Roger Williams School of Law, Emerson College, and Brown University. A 1962 graduate of Harvard, Smith received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976.
Robert Ellis Smith was born in Rhode Island and was later a resident of Washington, D.C., from 1970 to 1986. He returned to Rhode Island in 1986 and has lived in Providence and on Block Island. He served on the town council on Block Island from 2004 to 2006.