Kristin Chenoweth on ‘Glee,’ Meniere’s and Feeding America

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Kristin Chenoweth certainly made another splash returning to “Glee” on Tuesday night, bringing her Broadway belt back to the small screen as boozy April Rhodes.

“You have to know what you’re born to do, that you can’t do anything else,” she said recently by way of advice to hopefuls gunning for new spots in the “Glee” cast. “Then go for it.”


Go for it, indeed. This time the script sent her to a skating rink instead of a bowling alley -- probably good news for the actress, who said that in real life she’s a really bad bowler, which made looking like a really good bowler pretty tough during her first turn on the Fox hit last fall.

Add to that the fact that the stage veteran found out three years ago that she has Meniere’s disease, which affects balance, which is important to rollerskating -- hey wait, are these “Glee” producers trying to get the poor woman killed??

No wonder she’s escaped back to Broadway, where she opened in “Promises, Promises” with Sean Hayes on Sunday. At least there she’s not required to play any sports.

Fortunately, Chenoweth copes with Meniere’s in part by following a low-sodium diet, keeping her stress low and getting as much rest as she can, though her work can push her pretty hard from time to time. “It’s there, it’s something I have,” she says, adding that getting a diagnosis ...

... finally made it easier for her to cope with the vertigo and tinnitus. One of the singer’s Meniere’s issues is rather unique. “I have perfect pitch,” she said, and the ringing in her ears, well, “That’s a C sharp! And it’s driving me crazy!” Her kingdom for another note, essentially.

Fans can hear that perfect pitch on Oscar Meyer’s Good Mood Mission website. Chenoweth, 41, is the mission’s face and -- though she says she was “just messing around” -- also the voice of its jingle (we dare you to turn it off once it gets playing). And her happy demeanor fits right in with the Good Mood theme.

The Oklahoma native said she grew up around many families who didn’t have enough to eat. “We have to take care of our own,” she said, even as we stay mindful of others struggling in Haiti and elsewhere. “We have to step up to the plate.” The project, which runs through September in partnership with Feeding America, aims to raise 2 million pounds of food for people in this country.

And hey, could she be part of the “Wicked” movie that’s supposedly in production for 2012? The original Glinda said she’s rooting for the project, and has been proud so far to be part of “something special.” However ...

“They need to hurry up,” she exclaimed. “I’d be playing Morrible if they don’t!”

-- Christie D’Zurilla

Top photo: Kristin Chenoweth hit the lanes last year with “Glee,” guest starring in the show’s Sept. 30, 2009, episode, “The Rhodes Not Taken.” She returned as April Rhodes on April 27, 2010, in the “Home” episode. Credit: Carin Baer / Fox.

Lower photo: Chenoweth and Sean Hayes appear for the curtain call at the opening night performance of the Broadway musical “Promises, Promises” in New York on April 25, 2010. Charles Sykes / Associated Press.

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