Photo Credit: FOX
When a TV or Broadway producer looks to cast a ray of sunshine, Kristin Chenoweth often tops the list. The 41-year-old spitfire is known best for her bubbly turn as Glenda the Good Witch in Broadway’s Wicked, but she’s also played it perky on ABC's Pushing Daisies (for which she won an Emmy, after the show was canceled).
Chenoweth’s recurring character on Fox's Glee (Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET) has a fizzy persona, too -- but usually due to being tipsy. Chenoweth plays April Rhodes, a glee club alum, an out-of-control alcoholic, and an all-around bad influence. When Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) runs into his former classmate during Tuesday night’s episode, she’s spouting peppy, inappropriate comments into a microphone as a roller-rink deejay. And with the sort of subversive twist that Glee writers relish, the Chenoweth storyline will involve April the perky reprobate returning to McKinley High “to save the glee club.”
It’s an expert use of a guest star -- and one of many reasons critics have rallied around this series. Cleverly and consistently, Glee manages to create comedic musical theater without the sap. With a dash of black humor and irony, an otherwise corny choral routine can come off as cool (or pretty close to it). Remember the recent Rachel-Jesse duet, Lionel Richie’s “Hello”? It’s a cheesy song, but the characters’ sweet/sinister cross-purposes took it to another level. “I think Glee is groundbreaking, because…it's something that the whole family can watch, and [it] walks that edge so well,” Chenoweth recently told Popeater.com.
So does that mean Chenoweth might one day join the series permanently? No doubt the cast would love to have her. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth’s,” Chris Colfer (Kurt on Glee) told PR.com. “She really is a fantastic role model for all of us, showing how she is just as nice and sweet to everyone as she is talented.”
However, it doesn’t look like Chenoweth will become a Glee regular anytime soon: She and Sean Hayes are now starring in the Broadway revival of the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach musical Promises, Promises.
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