Sarah Vanek, who'll co-host the Battle of the Bands, has a long record of stage work, whether acting or performing music. COURTESY OF SARAH VANEK

Sarah Vanek said she's a natural for co-hosting the 2011 Battle of the Bands.

She's been a stage actress, from "Annie" to "Annie Get Your Gun."

As a former child performer, theater teacher and adult professional stage actress, Vanek says she can empathize with stage fright and young entertainers wanting to show the world what they've got.

"I still get nervous before I go out on stage," Vanek says.

Vanek says she respects young people who "love to perform and have enough chutzpah to get out in front of an audience and play their own music. That takes courage."

Vanek's childhood career - "I did my first professional production when I was 5" - included a long stint in a regional production of "Annie."

Since then she has acted in a TV pilot, done commercials, taught in children's theater schools, been a longtime member of a pantomime troupe and, mostly, acted on stage.

Since coming to Tucson in 2001, she's been a fixture at the Gaslight Theatre.

She also did a stretch with the local rock band 80s and Gentlemen and some shows with the Bad News Blues Band as part of a Louis Prima-Keely Smith tribute.