Meet Our Teachers
Sarah Baumgardner, Executive Director
Sarah Baumgardner is a graduate of Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA where she received her BA in Vocal Performance and a BS in Psychology. She has done Masters work in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and received a Masters of Divinity from Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay. An avid sacred music performer, Sarah is most often found singing for local church events and has served in ministry prior to taking on her role at MPH. Most importantly, Sarah’s passion is in encouraging others to explore their musical gifts and she brings that enthusiasm to each class and lesson.
Marisa Becker, Education Coordinator
Marisa Becker is the Summer Camp Coordinator for Matthews Playhouse. She has been hard at work putting together these amazing camps for the Matthews/Charlotte community. Before joining, she was a preschool teacher and used her passion to create creative learning opportunities that have easily moved into doing the same for Matthews Playhouse. She loves music, traveling with her family, and all things nerdy. She truly believes that how much theater experience can enrich someone's life, and she is honored to be part of Matthews Playhouse summer.
Keetha B. is an actress, director, playwright, writer, and theatre educator. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Redeeming History Productions, a production company creating work that celebrates the marginalized global majority. She is a theatre teaching artist and has been working with K-12 students for over 15 years. Keetha B. strives to create space for all who wish to learn the craft of acting.
Harrison L. Bumgardner is an accomplished, active baritone performer and teacher. He has performed many roles with the Levine Jewish Community Center, Central Piedmont Community College, UNCG Opera Theatre, and Opera Carolina. In February 2020, he sang with Andrea Bocelli on stage as an Opera Carolina Featured Artist performing the Quartet from Act III of La Bohème. As a performer, Harrison joined Matthews Playhouse, for the 2011 production of Sound of Music as Admiral Von Schreiber, while his lovely wife Jennifer Reid Bumgardner played Mother Abbess. He opened his private voice studio, The Bumgardner Voice Studio, in 2013 and has been helping singers find their best sound ever since. He joined Matthews playhouse as a Summer Camp Teacher in 2021 and has enjoyed being part of the MPH team ever since. He is looking forward to this new year of School of Theatre.
Maddie Coggin just finished her second year of teaching at Ridge Road Middle School. She has always wanted to be involved in theatre but discovered her passion for teaching before receiving her Bachelors in Theatre Education with a minor in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies from Appalachian State University! In her free time, she loves to go to Dunkin', make Tiktoks, hang out with her friends, her cat Banner, and walk on the Greenway!
Ra’Saun Elliott, a lyrical baritone with a multiplicity of singing styles, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance at Wingate University and is a professional vocal performer. Mr. Elliott plans to obtain his Master’s Degree in the coming years. Until then, he has a plan to take time to build his repertoire/resume and vocal abilities in Charlotte, North Carolina while making his way to a BROADer stage! Mr. Elliott has had numerous opportunities to experience in his time at Wingate University such as, premiering two operas, touring in and out the country with the University Singers at Wingate University, and etc! Elliott was a part of Matthews Playhouse’s Production of ‘Sister Act’ as the role of Joey! Ra’Saun is also a chef and loves to cook for his friends and family.
Adrianna Eve is a local choreographer from Matthews, NC with a M.A. in Philosophy and Applied Ethics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has been working with Matthews Playhouse since September of 2021. Adrianna is the executive director/choreography of the Adrianna Eve Company (also located in Matthews, NC). Currently, Adrianna is pursuing a M.A. in Legal Studies with a concentration in Indigenous Peoples Law at the University of Oklahoma. Adrianna’s teaching philosophy includes creating a safe and encouraging environment for all dancers in efforts to boost confidence and aid students in finding their own artistic expression!
Marissa has been involved with Matthews Playhouse for over 10 years, both as a teacher and as a performer. She currently serves as the Theatre Director at Piedmont High School. She is passionate about working with students to develop their theatrical skills and creativity and thoroughly enjoys teaching and directing for the School of Theatre. When she is not at school or the Playhouse, you can find her spending time outdoors with her husband and sweet pup.
Sarah Howe, a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, began dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown of Charlotte, NC. While in high school, Sarah began fostering her love of working with children while working at Open Door Studios as an assistant teacher. In college, Sarah spent much of her senior year working with Attack Theatre as the Assistant to the Arts Education Manager, Allison Popieski. Under her leadership, Sarah was able to continue growing her passion for non-profit work and accessibility in the arts; most notably in her work as the Production Director for a new accessible arts initiative, The Adaptive Dance Series. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts in Modern Dance from Point Park University in 2021, and could not be more excited to be returning to the Charlotte area to continue her passion for teaching with non-profits and helping students learn to love their own movement styles.
Keenan McGrath trained for many years in dance and musical theater in her hometown of Wilmington, NC. After a decade living in Manhattan, she relocated with her family to Matthews, where she owns and operates Queen Bee mosquito Control. This is Keenan's second year teaching at Matthews Playhouse, where she recently performed in the mainstage production of Sister Act. Keenan's hobbies include, musical theater, wearing pink, making as many ridiculous puns as possible, eye rolling, and embarrassing her children in public.
Stefanie Nicholson, Education Director
Stefanie has a BFA in Theater/Performance from the University of Georgia. She has toured professionally with Patchwork Players in Columbia, South Carolina, and has been teaching and directing in the Charlotte area for over 15 years. Stefanie joined Matthews Playhouse in 2003, and enjoys teaching summer camps and directing year-long theater classes. Stefanie loves working with children and believes theater promotes teamwork, builds self-confidence and strengthens imagination.
Krys is a theatre educator, performer, and director located in Charlotte, NC. He has been with the Playhouse as a teacher since 2019. He is currently in his fifth year teaching— currently as the Theatre Director at Butler High! As a graduate of App State, he majored in Theatre Education. Krys has one simple mission in his theatre philosophy: to make theatre a safe and inclusive place for everyone, no matter where you come from and no matter where you’ve been! He loves sushi, cats, tattoos, games with his friends, and the gym! Some of his favorite shows include: 1984, Jekyll & Hyde, Next to Normal, and Sweeney Todd!
Marty Wolff is a former high school theatre teacher and college professor at Winthrop University. Marty earned his Masters in Fine Arts in the area of Scenic Design from the University of Nebraska in the spring of 2021 after nearly two decades of theatrical experience. He specializes in theatrical design, technology, carpentry and education. As a teacher at heart, Marty loves to share his process with young theatrical up-and-comers and build them toward becoming the next shining stars in our profession.
Corlis is excited to be teaching at the Matthew Playhouse School of Theatre. Corlis is a member of the faculty in the Division of Arts and Communication at CPCC in Charlotte, NC. Most recently she has joined the faculty of a nonprofit called Theatre Gap Initiative (TGI) that helps students use a gap year to prepare for auditions to get into BFA programs under the leadership of Corey Mitchell. She has served as Chair of The Theatre Department at Morgan State University and Livingstone College as well as headed Johnson C. Smith University Drama Program. Her many directing credits include: The Miracle Worker, Fences, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Most recently she was given the opportunity to direct By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Winthrop University. Corlis has received several awards and acknowledgements for her direction. Last fall she received Metrolina Theatre Association (MTA) Best Director for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Brand New Sheriff Productions (BNS). In addition, she received Best Director for Fences, (BNS) and Broadway World 2020 and MTA Best Director 2019 for Two Trains Running (BNS). Currently, Corlis is on The Board of Directors of Theatre Charlotte, where she serves as Chair of The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She is grateful to be given the opportunity to return to her roots stimulating the imagination and creativity of children.
Scott Albert is thrilled to be joining the Matthews Playhouse theater education team. He has a musical theater degree from Emerson College in Boston, MA. As a professional performer, Scott toured nationally in shows like: Beauty and the Beast, Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Battle Cry of Freedom. He has been blessed with over 25 years’ experience as an actor and director. Scott has taught acting, musical theater, improv, audition workshops for several years in New York, Boston, and Charlotte. Some of Scott’s favorite directing credits include: Next to Normal, Bye, Bye Birdie, A Catered Affair, Snap Shots, 25th Annual Spelling Bee, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and Lost in Yonkers. When Scott is not playing make believe, you can find him cheering on his 3 kids and wife with their abundant activities such as: sports, acting, dancing, and gaming. In the classroom, Scott intends to bring his enthusiasm for collaboration and creative choices.
Mary Lynn Bain
Mary Lynn Bain holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has enjoyed performing since she first auditioned for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Matthews Playhouse and is happy to come full circle to teach this year. Since moving back from New York in 2020, she has enjoyed performing and teaching in Charlotte as well as Concord, North Carolina with Old Courthouse Theatre.
Neifert Enrique is an actor, musician, technician, and educator. He recently graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelors in Theatre and Music and has been active at Matthews Playhouse for the past few years. His most recent acting roles include Pablo in "Sister Act", Judas in "Godspell", and Rooster in "Annie". In his free time, he enjoys cooking, reading, making TikToks, watching movies, playing piano, and puzzles.
Bridget Burrows has been changing lives through the power of music & theater in Union County, North Carolina for the last fourteen years. Prior to her teaching, Bridget attended Appalachian State University and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Music Education K-12. During the course of her career, Mrs. Burrows has received numerous awards, grants, fellowships and teaching artist awards on the local, national and international levels for her programs. Her main goal as an educator is to help students realize their purpose in life and to help young people feel more confident on and off the stage. In her free time, Bridget enjoys spending time with her husband and their two children. They love to travel and explore the adventures that await them!
Leah Palmer-Licht has been teaching voice for over 10 years now. As a performer in musicals, opera and jazz, she has an extensive musical background. She is still a performer as well as a Special Education teacher. She is looking forward to working at MPH!