She defied gravity as Elphaba in the original Chicago version of “Wicked” and then again on the Great White Way in New York City, but this Suburgatory actress isn’t your run of the mill cookie cutter Hollywood type.
Ana Gasteyer’s lifelong love for music and theatre is intrinsically woven into the very core of her prototype and functionality as both a chorus girl and an actress. In fact, some of her most well-known skits appearing on Saturday Night Live from 1996-2002 funneled around her passion for music.
Take the chest-thumping Celine Dion as an example…or Bobbi Mohan-Culp opposite the affable Will Ferrell’s Marty Culp. If Gasteyer, now 45, could find a way to finagle a score into the script, she was on it like peanut butter on jelly…like Alec Baldwin on the subject of his schweddy balls.
“My therapist once told me that there is just something about the human voice inside your own head – singers are statistically happier people,” Gasteyer told me in our interview from New York. “I have a nightclub act – I’m an old-fashioned gal with an old-fashioned band.”
Frolicking in the pivotal role of the Wicked Witch of the West was a childhood dream-come-true for the former Los Angeles improv/sketch comedy Groundlings comedienne.
“I can’t believe the opportunities I’ve had in my career – Saturday Night Live and ‘Wicked’… of all musicals,” Gasteyer shared. “‘Wicked’ is a really powerful story and has an incredibly resonant quality for women and girls who are coming of age, especially. It’s a story about belonging and reconciling your past. The message is asking, ‘What defines popular and what defines strength?’”
Gasteyer joked that she enjoyed her run as Elphaba until the moment she “ran out of money from doing theatre.”
Fond memories of The Wizard of Oz circulated in mindfulness especially during her tenure as the Green Queen from 2005-2007, respectively. “I’m 45, and they have run The Wizard of Oz on television every Thanksgiving for at least 30 years [now]. It is possibly the biggest cultural touch point of our generation.”
On the subject of her upcoming tour with the trusted Seattle Men’s Chorus holiday show, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” The mother of two admitted, “I’m really excited. I’ve never sung with a chorus of this size.” Gasteyer added, “The guys at the Seattle Men’s Chorus are really funny, creative people. Captain Smartypants is really funny, too. I love an old-fashioned Christmas.”
Gasteyer promised “holiday favorites from Broadway and some wonky versions of songs we all know well. There are two numbers out of the set that I do with my band…standards that are fun.” Laughter is vital to this musician-turned-actress-turned-musician. “I have a lot of songs that make me happy and make me laugh.”
Gasteyer has always made us laugh so we’re pretty confident this is a win-win situation all around.
Catch “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” at Benaroya Hall on the following dates and times: Friday, November 30 (8:00pm), Saturday, December 1 (2:00pm), Sunday, December 9 (7:30pm), Sunday, December 16 (7:30pm), Thursday, December 20 (7:30pm), Friday, December 21 (8:00pm), and Saturday, December 22 (2:00pm and 8:00pm). Gasteyer will only appear at the Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 performance dates.
For more information about Gasteyer, please visit: Anagasteyerinconcert.com.