In 1995, there came a defining moment in the young life of Jordan Ensign.

She saw a production of the musical "The Phantom of the Opera," and the 5-year-old was hooked.

"Phantom was the first time I knew I loved music," she said.

Now, at 27, she's part of the production.

Ensign is part of the ensemble cast and occasionally plays the lead female role, Christine Daae, in the traveling production of "Phantom," which will wrap up its series of central Ohio performances Sunday, Jan. 14, in the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. in downtown Columbus.

Ensign's life has been all about musical training with lessons in piano and voice, acting in Columbus Children's Theater and singing in school choirs.

It might appear that performing would be a natural for the 2008 graduate of Worthington Christian High School.

But Ensign said she developed serious stage fright singing and playing piano so she majored in opera at Wheaton College in Illinois and later earned her master's degree in the same field of study at DePaul University in Chicago.

She said she feels quite comfortable on stage now.

Ensign landed a role in "Phantom," produced by Cameron Mackintosh, after her first audition. She was an understudy.

"'Phantom' was always a huge dream of mine," she said.

So, she gave up her New York City address and has been on the road for 15 months, staying in bed-and-breakfasts and hotels, and driving from venue to venue with her rescue dog, Bumble.

"I love the change of locations," she said.

Max Quinlan, touring director of "Phantom," said the musical has a timeless quality.

"The great thing about the show is it is an iconic piece of theater," Quinlan said. "It's a beautiful show with a message everybody can relate to."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary