Actress, singer Ana Gasteyer set to unwrap Dec. 9 Christmas show at Commons

Ana Gasteyer said she’s getting all dressed up for the Christmas party she’s throwing here Dec. 9 at her Cabaret at The Commons performance.

But it will be different than viewers of the TV hit “The Masked Singer” might imagine. Well, maybe.

Two years ago, she belted tunes on the show dressed as an elaborate Christmas tree.

“Oh, I wish I could do that (outfit again),” she said, speaking by phone from her home in Brooklyn about the show here. “Now that you mention it, I just might have to make that happen.”

The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s seven-year-old series was averaging more than 350 people per show before the pandemic hit in March 2020.

And since the series restarted, even with a crowd restriction of 350 people instead of the normal 425 seats, the average attendance recently climbed to more than 300, according to Philharmonic board member Pam Lego. A total of 325 people attended the performance of Tony Award-winning actress and singer Beth Leavel.

Lego acknowledged that organizers are “thrilled that we are back on track with pre-COVID numbers.”

The local series, coordinated in tandem and with the support of Indianapolis’ The Cabaret series, draws attendees from as far away as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky — and has long earned accolades for top-tier, affordable entertainment in small-town America.

Gasteyer is thrilled to be sharing her original jazzy, big-band-style songs and classics from her sassy and brassy 2019 release “Sugar and Booze.”

“We recorded the kind of songs that we hope never go out of style,” she said. “This is really the kind of music I love. I have often said that I was born in the wrong era.”

In videos of her presenting the album’s tunes, she even projects a mid-century Hollywood starlet glamour without even trying. She’ll perform here with a five-piece band — a rarity for artists’ scaled-down performances in much of the series.

“I have a big voice,” she said. “And I love a little competition.”

Doubters can check out a range of online videos highlighting Gasteyer’s powerful pipes, including her passionate rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.”

The ex-“Saturday Night Live” comedian played her recent, brief phone chat straight, letting go a little chuckle when asked — two days before Thanksgiving — if perhaps she could offer any Butterball turkey preparation tips for the big day before she headed to Washington, D.C. to be with in-laws. The food reference was to her role as the voice of the Butterball turkey hotline expert in an episode of television’s “The West Wing” several years ago.

“Oh, you are funny,” she said.

Gasteyer’s resume is as varied as perhaps any performer to grace the local cabaret series. She starred on SNL from 1996 to 2002, known for her turns as characters such as Martha Stewart. She also returned in later years for select shows.

On the stage, she starred as Elphaba in “Wicked” in both the Broadway and Chicago productions (earning a Jefferson Award Nomination for her performance in the latter). In 2017, Gasteyer starred in FOX’s “A Christmas Story Live!,” inspired by the holiday classic film. Currently, she is appearing in the Christmas flick “A Clüsterfünke Christmas” airing initially on Saturday on Comedy Central.

And she will be a part of the new NBC sitcom “American Auto,” with an initial episode airing Dec. 13. Plus, she’s also an accomplished violinist who has been known to take out her bow during a show or two.

“During the quarantine, I was fiddling three times a day,” she said.

This time of year, she acknowledged that she can be fiddling with stress as much as anyone.

“It can be overwhelming,” she said.

She and husband Charlie McKittrick will travel to her clan’s Christmas celebration in New Mexico, where they will park an Airstream trailer in her parents’ driveway for a cozy holiday.

“It’s the best way,” she said, “to have some private space.”

In a very public life and times.