By Lucy M. Pritchett

Anne Ensign-Urteaga appreciates working behind the scenes in preparation for each performance. Here, she stands in one of the CenterStage dressing rooms. Photos by Patti Hartog

If you’ve ever attended one of the excellent theatrical productions put on by CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center, you have most likely seen Anne Ensign-Urteaga. OK. That statement may be a little misleading. She won’t be in costume singing or dancing but instead, as operations manager for the community theater, she comes on stage before the start of the show to welcome the audience and make brief announcements.

That, she says, is pretty much the extent of public performance that this introvert can deal with.

“Although in high school I performed as a member of the company in a few of Assumption’s theater productions, I have no huge desire to be on stage. I am office person at heart. In my job, it helps that I have a basic knowledge and vocabulary of the theater and understand all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a show. I know that the audience only sees the tip of the iceberg, the performance, but not all of the work, meetings, rehearsals, and changes that go into making it.”

Anne is in charge of marketing, ticket sales and systems management, patron relations, and event planning. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t often wield a paint roller or move around Z racks loaded with costumes.

Because, she says, “If something needs to be done, I do it.”

CenterStage has been around in Louisville for 103 years, Anne says. It puts on five to seven shows each season. All the performers, crew, costumers, and musicians are volunteers.

When she is not at work, Anne enjoys playing video games (Skyrim is her favorite) and settling in to work a New York Times crossword puzzle. One thing she can’t live without: her library card. “I’m a big reader,” says this woman who started a book club that now has 13 or 14 members…but no name. And no e-reader for her. “I prefer holding a physical book. I tried reading on a tablet once but just didn’t like it. Besides I like to read in the bathtub.” Water and electronics don’t mix.

What helps her the most in her work is a closed Facebook group she creates for each show that the volunteers, the contractors, and the performers can go to for messages.

“That has been very helpful,” she says, “as it keeps everyone up-to-date on what is happening with the show.”

Here are three additional things that Anne has found work for her:


Refaxi soft towel headband wrap
This was given to me by my sister. It’s a soft stretchy headband with cat ears attached. It is so cute. It is perfect to use to pull back my hair when I wash my face, put on makeup, or use a facial mask. Because it’s so soft it doesn’t leave a mark in my hair.


Spray paint
Using spray paint is a little-known backstage secret. We have an 8-foot shelf backstage filled with cans of different colored spray paint. We use it to spray paint shoes, jackets, signage, masks…whatever needs to be changed or covered. My husband always knows what I have been up to at work when I come home covered with spatters of paint.


BB Skin79 cream
This is a moisturizer with a little bit of tint that I use instead of foundation. It is super lightweight. I use the one in the pink container — it is for light skin — and there are creams for other skin tones as well. It also has sun protection. It settles nicely and there’s no cracking. I’ve become a big fan of Asian beauty products — the BB cream comes from Korea. I also use Japanese facial sheet masks. I have very sensitive skin and wasn’t having much luck with American products. They were making my face break out. The Asian products seem gentler on my skin.