After six years with “Saturday Night Live,” Ana Gasteyer has taken on her dream role of Elphaba, the verdant young witch in the Chicago ensemble of Wicked, the musical. The 1989 Northwestern grad is currently defying gravity eight times a week at the Oriental Theatre, but she took a breather to chat with us about her approach to fashion, how she deals with her demanding gig, and the places she, her husband, Charlie, and her three-year-old daughter, Frances, love in the Windy City.


PERSONAL STYLE: “Downtown hippie chic. I’m definitely a casual dresser-I have 300 pairs of jeans and 800,000 T-shirts. I never wear anything itchy, but I love texture-velvet, corduroy, cashmere, and funky patterned tops. Summer is just not my bag, really; I’m an autumn dresser. I got turned on to boots when I was at Northwestern; they’re comfy to walk in and give great leg. I try to do skirts, but it’s hard. I get a lot of mileage out of my denim miniskirt.”

HER CURRENT OBSESSION: “Home design is my porn! We’ve checked out CB2 and Room & Board, and I buy all the shelter magazines. My current favorite is Elle Decoration, from England; also Dwell and Martha Stewart Living, of course. I’ve almost finished memorizing the IKEA catalog. I used a bunch of their Löva leaves to make a little forest in Frances’s bedroom.”

HOW SHE PREPARES FOR THE SHOW: “I do yoga at Yogaview and get weekly facials at Exhale to get out all that green gunk-it’s in my contract. I’m trying to be more vegetarian, but Petterino’s has the best roast chicken I’ve had in my life, plus they put my picture on the wall! I’m a coffee fanatic, but switched to tea for my voice-almost every day I get a matcha green tea with soy from Argo Tea.”

FAVORITE SPOTS: “Sunday night is date night for me and Charlie, my husband. We love Avec and that whole West Loop area-the industrial feel reminds me of [the neighborhood] where we live in New York. Big Bowl is great, and Weber Grill, but I also really like to cook, and chose our River North apartment for its proximity to Whole Foods. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I spend at Navy Pier. The Children’s Museum is fabulous-we became members immediately-and Frances is so proud to ride the kiddie train by herself. I also take her to the Notebaert Nature Museum to watch the butterflies, and to the Anti-Cruelty Society to visit the dogs-I have a feeling we’ll be taking one of those home when we leave Chicago.”

STUFF SHE BROUGHT FROM HOME: “A photo my sister-in-law took of Frances’s feet in her sparkly red slippers from Target, which is hanging in my backstage dressing room; a perfectly seasoned wooden bowl I found at a New York flea market-I brought it here to make salads.”

I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT MY . . . “Terax hair conditioner; my Sonicare toothbrush, which I got in a gift bag when promoting Reefer Madness at Sundance; really big coffee mugs; and my iBook with AirPort wireless capability-I’m addicted to e-mailing.”

THE LAST FIVE THINGS SHE BOUGHT: “A vintage tire gauge as a gift for a biking buddy, from P.O.S.H.; blue bags for recycling; clear plastic shoeboxes from The Container Store-everything from my iPod to my daughter’s art supplies goes in those; a bicycle off Craigslist, which we tricked out with a seat for Frances; and Catch the Moon, a CD of children’s music from Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb.”