Ask people in the Cincinnati theatrical world about Lynn Meyers, and the first thing to come to their mouths is probably a smile.

That’s because, in her 13 years as producing artistic director at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Meyers has brought an invigorating personality and infectious enthusiasm to the stage (or backstage, as it may be), as well as an eerily keen knack for choosing just the right scripts for the right moment in time.

“I took the job for three months,” Meyers jokes. “It’s been a longer stay than anyone expected.” Indeed, what was to be a transitional job, filling an immediate need on the part of the ETC, turned into a longtime occupation.

The ETC is self-described as “Cincinnati’s only professional theater fully committed to a mission of providing new theater that is both locally acclaimed and nationally honored.” Meyers herself hails from a track record littered with accomplishments. As a casting director, she’s worked for Mary Tyler Moore (MTM) productions, CBS, PBS, HBO and the BBC. The Thomas More College graduate has also served as the location casting director for the 1994 big-budget flick The Shawshank Redemption.

All the way from directing Steel Magnolias at Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles to off-Broadway credits such as Traveler in the Dark and Max and Maxie, Meyers has traveled across the two coasts and Canada for her craft, while keeping intact her personal devotion to Cincinnati.

An unrelenting belief in its neighborhood home, Over-the-Rhine, truly characterizes the Ensemble, Meyers observes. Some would say the community loyalty is for good, while others for ill. But the urban character of the community — challenging, moody, sometimes gritty — has shaped the theatrical calendar as much as it has shaped the audience and staff. “ETC was, I think, a strong catalyst in the neighborhood,” Meyers says. “I am glad we stuck it out and stayed.” Now, with the construction of the School for Creative & Performing Arts next door, Meyers’ wisdom has more than proven itself.

As has the wisdom of the Ensemble’s key financial supporters — Stanley and Mickey Kaplan, Jack and Moe Rouse, and co-founders Ruth and John Sawyer and Ken and the late Murph Mahler — in hiring this particular director. Meyers says the contributions of Murph cannot be overlooked. Her death in late December took both cast and crew by shock. “She was just wonderful,” says Meyers in eulogy. “It’s not just money. It’s the loss of a spirit, a passion. She was here for every opening night.”

In terms of her own legacy, Meyers says, “The biggest thing was establishing that downtown Cincinnati can support another professional theater. Our audience has quadrupled. We are at capacity as far as a lot of the shows are concerned.” Is a move to bigger space in the future? No. “Our goal is to add more shows.” A summer season is on Meyers’ wish list: “I would love to renovate the building to have really good AC.”

Meanwhile, from I Am My Own Wife — with its Tony and Pulitzer nods — to the much acclaimed Hedwig and the Angry Inch and this season’s 33 Variations, Meyers has carefully placed her own stamp on the programming of her premieres. “A regional playhouse has to be about the region it is in.”

That stamp is, granted, sometimes controversial. No, no nudity, and no mere outrageousness for its own sake. “But I can’t imagine the rawness of things, the edginess, out in the suburbs. … We are in the character of a building steeped in a 100-year history. That really enlivens us, where we come from and the future.”

When talking about how she sketches out a season, Meyers uses the differences between Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman and the more modern-day adaptation that she is currently putting on — the Chaim Potok/Aaron Posner play about religion and individuality, My Name is Asher Lev — in order to illustrate her unique viewpoint. “It [our typical season] is not about Death of a Salesman,” Meyers says. “I really like Death of a Salesman, but it is not for us. Not everybody is going to do an Asher Lev.”