Newlyweds and professional singers Jennifer Reid Bumgardner and Harrison Bumgardner will be the first married couple to play principal roles in the fall musical presented by the Levine Jewish Community Center Visual and Performing Arts.
Jennifer will play the role of the Baker’s Wife, and Harrison will be Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods” later this month.
“Their combined talent, as professional opera and musical theatre singers, and their skill as musicians and performers, is only outshined by their warmth, dependability, high standards and positive attitude,” said Susan Cherin Gundersheim, director of LJCC Visual and Performing Arts. “Not only is it a very fun experience to work with and see them on stage as a couple, but they contribute so much to our eclectic group, helping with the kids in the show, going over blocking and choreography with fellow actors, and adding such a generous spirit to the cast.”
Jennifer, 37, and Harrison, 28, met as performers with the Opera Carolina chorus during rehearsals for “Otello” in April 2010.
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Since 2010, Jennifer and Harrison have done seven operas together and have had principal leads in “The Sound of Music” at Matthews Playhouse and “Fiddler on the Roof” at the LJCC.
The Bumgardners live in Oak Brook, just south of Ballantyne, and have extensive backgrounds in music.
Jennifer, an account manager at Flores & Associates, earned a bachelor of music and vocal performance degree with a minor in musical theatre from Salem College. Harrison holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and a minor in theatre from Appalachian State University and a master’s degree in performance and pedagogy from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Harrison is a voice teacher and owner of Bumgardner Voice Studio.
Music is such a large part of Harrison’s life that it was important to him to marry someone who also shared his passion.
“Music is very intimately tied to my life,” Harrison said. “I almost always have sound around me. I can take a piece of music that has really affected me and play it for Jennifer, and she will get that. It’s hard to imagine being able to relate to someone if they couldn’t get that same thing.”
Jennifer said she feels the same way.
“I have a job during the day that is not related to music, but I must always have music in my life. It is my love. It fills my soul,” she said.
It was fitting that Harrison proposed in New York City on Broadway right before the curtain went up on “Newsies.”
“Since we are both performers, he couldn’t have picked a better place than at the theater before a wonderful show,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer and Harrison were married at Disney World’s Wedding Pavilion on Feb 7.
And they enjoy performing together.
“We get to practice at home, and it is helpful for both of us,” Harrison said. “We learn music a little differently, but we are good about remembering that and not trying to force each to learn our own way.”