Shpritz Anthony, a beloved member of the Sacramento theater community, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 5 at his Sacramento home at the age of 47. The cause of death has not been determined.
Mr. Anthony was a fixture at Sacramento Theatre Company for more than 20 years, starting there as an intern and working his way up to general manager.
Along the way, Mr. Anthony worked in the box office, as assistant stage manager, stage manager, company manager and director of operations. He left STC in the fall of 2010 to become director of operations of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Mr. Anthony also worked for California Musical Theatre as Music Circus operations manager from 2004 through the 2010 season.
"Shpritz collaborated closely with our company while wearing multiple hats at STC," said Scott Klier, CMT associate producer. "He played an instrumental role through the Pavilion's construction process and STC's renovation.
"News of his passing has not only devastated our local theater community, but has also been met by an outpouring of love and sympathy from hundreds of Music Circus veteran actors and artisans from throughout the country. He was an original, he was family, and he will be deeply missed," Klier said.
Mr. Anthony was known for his nurturing generosity, gracious positive energy and a distinctive infectious laugh.
Dawn Benton, executive vice president and CEO of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said Mr. Anthony took treatment of their members to an all-time high.
"Everyone has their off days but Shpritz always made the members his No. 1 priority, and the staff here too. He was a real mother hen," Benton said.
At STC Mr. Anthony worked for six artistic directors, including Mark Cuddy, who nurtured him. Mr. Anthony blossomed under Peggy Shannon, who led STC from June 1998 through June 2010.
"He stage-managed things for me in Los Angeles and assisted with casting that I did in both Los Angeles and in New York," Shannon said.
She met Mr. Anthony when he picked her up at the airport as she came to Sacramento as a guest director.
"Shpritz was amazing, made me feel at home, took care of everything to ensure I was comfortable," Shannon said. After several more trips to Sacramento, Shannon became the STC artistic director, with Mr. Anthony as her right-hand man.
"We decided that he and I were meant to be brother and sister, " Shannon said. "We began to publicly claim this relationship."
Shannon was a single parent with two young children at the time.
"Every Saturday morning he would arrive at my home in Sacramento to pick up Isaiah (her son) and eventually Aliyah (her daughter) and take them to a movie, to the mall, to the pumpkin patch, to his house, for a drive, to the park, you name it," Shannon said. "He did this every Saturday, rain or shine, for roughly seven years."
Diana Gutierrez described her brother as a "very giving, loving person."
"He was always positive," she said. "He always thought the glass was half full.
"He introduced me to theater and taught me to love it the way he did. 'Les Misérables' was his favorite show, and we went to see it four times together. He gave his life to theater."
David Shpritz Anthony
Born: Dec. 12, 1965
Died: Jan. 5, 2013
Survived by: Father, Ernie Castellano; and sisters, Stephanie Aldama, Diana Gutierrez and Melody Spicer, all of Campbell.
Services: Memorial celebration 11 a.m. March 2 at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento.