Cue & A: A New Brain Star Ana Gasteyer on Hamilton and Elphaba vs. Fosca

News   Cue & A: A New Brain Star Ana Gasteyer on Hamilton and Elphaba vs. Fosca
Ana Gasteyer, who stars as overbearing mother Mimi Schwinn in the City Center Encores! staging of A New Brain June 24-27, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Ana Gasteyer
Ana Gasteyer

Known to TV audiences for her six seasons on "Saturday Night Live," Gasteyer has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, The Rocky Horror Show, Threepenny Opera and The Royal Family.

Her varied screen work includes the films "Mean Girls" and "Reefer Madness: The Musical," as well as recurring roles on TV series such as "The Good Wife," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Suburgatory" and "The Goldbergs."

Name: Ana Gasteyer
Where you were born/where you were raised: Washington, DC
What your parents did/do for a living: My dad is a lawyer, who now works in local politics in their town in New Mexico. My mom is an artist, who works with ceramics.
Siblings: My brother Stephen is a Professor of Sociology at Michigan State.
Who were you major mentors/inspirations when first starting out? They are as varied as my career. From Lily Tomlin to Bob Newhart to Kathleen Battle, to Robert Prosky and the wonderful rep company of the old Arena Stage.
Special skills: I'm a violinist, and I can do a cartwheel.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Hip hop dance moves.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Glengarry Glen Ross. Robert Prosky was a family friend and we came to see him. We ate at Joe Allen's afterward. My first musical was Cats, with a really bad obstructed view. I took the train from DC with my best friend Brian. We thought we'd arrived.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Anything directed by Tommy Tune, and an old George S. Kaufman extravaganza just to feel what it felt like to be in those houses.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Fun Home and Something Rotten!
Favorite showtune of all time: I think "I Wish I Could Forget You" from Passion is the most beautifully constructed song, as is "Who Are You Now?" from Funny Girl. And I love every single song from Music Man, even "Shapoopie."
Some favorite modern musicals:

Well, I think Hamilton is an incredible game changer. We'll look back at that and note the shift. I thought Next to Normal was exquisite. Like Fun Home, it tackles huge emotional terrain as only a musical can do. I also love the score from Shrek. Completely underrated, IMHO.

Some favorite classic musicals:

I love Guys and Dolls, I love anything Cole Porter, I love White Christmas, I love Oklahoma! though it can get real heavy. I don't know. What's classic? I wore out Hair on my turntable — my dad actually put the LP on a forced hiatus for a month so he wouldn't lose his mind.

Most played song on your iPod: Probably something tacky from my running mix
Most-visited websites: apartmenttherapy, playbill, food52
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Helen Keller. True story.
Worst costume ever: My stepsister getup in Cinderella at City Opera. I don't know how those divas do it.
First stage kiss: It was either as Annie in Annie Get Your Gun or Yum-Yum in The Mikado. Do they kiss in The Mikado?
Last book you read: "Orange is the New Black"
Must-see TV show(s): Just watched the sneak peek of "Mr. Robot." It's gonna be great.
Last good movie you saw: "Foxcatcher"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:

I like any performer that is willing to go as far as possible, without losing their self-awareness or sense of humor. Marty Short, Bette Midler, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin, Will Ferrell all come to mind.

Vocally, I could listen to Judy Kuhn all day, any day. Her vocal quality knocks me off my feet.

Pop culture guilty pleasure: When I'm exhausted, nothing beats a dumb procedural.
Three favorite cities: Paris, Istanbul, Albuquerque
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life"
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I'm so traditional. I LOVE love love Joe Allen's and Bar Centrale. Before shows or between mat/eve I like chicken soup from Hale and Hearty. I love their app.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Evian, champagne, rose
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Hypochondriacal panic, followed by a conversation with a family member.
Most challenging role you have ever played: Physically, Elphaba. Emotionally, Fosca.
Were you familiar with A New Brain previously? Had you seen a production? Yes and no.
How have you been handling the hectic Encores! schedule? Like a complete spaz. I've been very short with my family.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling part of this project so far? Everything. It's been an absolutely fulfilling creative process. Bill and James' involvement is constant and the evolution of the piece has been amazing.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I missed an entrance in Kimberly Akimbo. Maybe two minutes late. I was yapping backstage with my dresser.
Craziest audition story: I had to sing "Happy bBrthday, Mr. President" to my hand for Robert Wilson. I had a laughing fit and had to excuse myself.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Annie Oakley, and in 10 years, Mama Rose.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I should have paid more attention in music school, when I was being such a wise ass.
Career you would want if not a performer: Home and food blogger
Three things you can't live without: My family, my career, fun
"I'll never understand why…" … people find it confusing that performers are often multi-faceted.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Look for the positive sign posts. It's a really fun way to make a living.
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