Ana Gasteyer Talks Debuting a New Pasek & Paul Song in A Christmas Story Live, Her Dream Encores! Revival, & SNL Fan Faves
December 12th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
After appearing as Principal McGee in the Emmy-winning live broadcast of Grease, Ana Gasteyer co-stars in FOX's upcoming live musical A Christmas Story Live on Sunday, December 17. The Wicked, Rocky Horror, and A New Brain alum plays Mrs. Schwartz and gets to debut a brand new Pasek & Paul song written just for her. BroadwayBox caught up with Ana to talk about A Christmas Story, the Saturday Night Live sketch fans love most, and her dream revival for Encores!
1. How does A Christmas Story feel different than your experience on Grease?
They are tonally very different shows, so that influences how I feel. Christmas Story is warm, holiday fare that has fun with tradition and family and the challenges the season brings. So it feels like we’re working inside a spirited little holiday card. The kids are so wonderful and chirpy and excited, and the sets are magical and the whole thing is old-fashioned, it’s just contagiously joyful and sweet. Grease felt bigger and poppier, this is a holiday event. And for me, the main difference between this experience and Grease is that I’m really singing in A Christmas Story. Benj and Justin wrote this incredible, brassy, sassy Hanukkah number so my focus is on delivering the number the best that I can.
2. What’s the most surprising part of putting these live musicals together?
As much work goes into the camera choreography as the acting/singing. The fourth wall is always moving so it’s a challenge to be aware of performing in a theatrical way, but from every angle. I find it interesting and terrifying, because it’s like being on a stage that’s constantly moving, if that makes sense.
3. What’s your favorite movie musical? Is there one that rises above the crop for you?
Singin' in the Rain! But I also LOVE White Christmas and the opening tracking shot of West Side Story may be my favorite moment on film.
4. What was your biggest Wicked mishap?
The elevator didn’t rise from the pit on "No Good Deed" one night, but I’d already started singing. I had to sprint up a flight of cinder block stairs with no sound in the monitors. I got to stage level about a quarter of the way into the song. The monkeys were flapping around in terror and my lungs were on fire.
5. If you were to return to Encores! again in a revival of any musical, which would you pick?
Mame! Need I say more...
6. Which SNL sketch do strangers stop and talk to you about most?
Well it’s Christmastime, so…our old friend Pete Schweddy and NPR seems to be on everyone’s mind.
7. I’m obsessed with your Lady Dynamite looks. Have you kept anything?
Ha, no but I wouldn’t mind hanging around in that orange robe after all the Christmas cookies.
Tune into A Christmas Story Live at see Ana Gasteyer and the gang on Fox beginning at 7 PM on Sunday, December 17.