Jennifer Smith, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance from DePauw University School of Music in 2008, where she studied with Dr. Stanley Irwin. Jennifer received many wonderful experiences, honors, and memories at DePauw. She placed twice at the Indiana NATS competition, was the only freshman to make it to the finals of the Concerto competition in 2005, performed leading roles in both the theatre and opera productions, worked with renowned 21st century composer Jake Heggie in 2007, and sang with the DePauw Symphony Orchestra for Mozart’s Mass in C minor in 2006 and the 2008 Concerto Competition. Jennifer placed first at the Regional NATS Competition in 2008, where she was also awarded the Jessye Norman Award for Most Promising Undergraduate and upon graduation, was awarded with the Fitzpatrick Opera Award for her excellence in the opera program.
Her notable show credits include Sadie Miller in Our Christmas Dinner, Pam Johnston in Half-Stitched, Laura Mayfield in The Confession, Rosalinda in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Meredith in Bat Boy the Musical, Mother God in Children of Eden, and Blondie in P.D.Q. Bachs Abduction of Figaro. Other show credits include Joanne in Godspell and Mother Superior in Nunsense, both performed with Miracle Productions Theatre Company of Traverse City.
In 2008, Jennifer made her debut with the Asheville Lyric Opera Company in North Carolina. That season, she played Lady Capulet in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and sang for their 10th anniversary gala. In the spring of 2009, she joined the company as Giannetta in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love for the cARTwheels tour which brought opera to the children of Western North Carolina. ALO has also given Jennifer the opportunity to hone her production skills. She was Assistant Stage Manager for the 2008-2009 season closer, Rigoletto and the 2009-2010 season closer, Carmen. She was also the Stage Manager for the 2009-2010 season opener, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. For two years, Jennifer studied voice with Artistic Director, David Craig Starkey.
Jennifer has been seen on the White Horse Black Mountain stage, winning first place in the Great Blue Ridge Talent Search, taking part in the Juke Box Dinner Theatre one summer, performing her own concerts and appearing in the classic concert series, Divas and Drafts with Kimberly Hughes, Rich Eugene and pianist, Daniel Weiser. She has also been a featured performer for Daniel Weiser's Classicopia and AmiciMusic series.
For five seasons, Jennifer worked as a leading actress for Blue Gate Musicals, a repertory theater company based in Shipshewana, IN that creates and produces original Amish-themed musicals. Since joining the company in 2012, Jennifer appeared in six different shows, with over 950 performances, and recorded three different original cast recordings! She played the role of Laura Mayfield in The Confession, a musical drama based on the Lancaster series by Beverly Lewis, originated the role of Pam Johnston in Half-Stitched, a musical comedy based on the book by Wanda Brunstetter, and reprised the role three more times since. In 2015, Jennifer played the role of Cindy Steadman in Josiah for President, and premiered Blue Gate's new holiday musical, Our Christmas Dinner as Sadie Miller. In 2016, Jennifer not only premiered her third musical with the company as Molly Glick in The Home Game, she also premiered a new 90-minute musical comedy called Mennonite Girls Can Cook . In the fall of 2017, Jennifer premiered her fifth musical, Christmas in Paradise, Blue Gate's newest holiday musical.
Jennifer decided to step away from the stage in 2018, to focus on her personal life, and to continue her professional growth in other areas of the theatre business. She now works behind-the-scenes, as Entertainment Coordinator for the Blue Gate Theatre! Jennifer is now in charge of contacting agents, booking artists for their large venues, coordinating marketing & events, as well as researching. However, performing will always be her calling. Jennifer plans to keep singing for crowds and audiences, performing at local events and churches.
On top of it all, Jennifer recently got married to her wonderful husband, Kyle Phillip! 2018 has been an exciting year so far, and Jennifer looks forward to the future.