Cori Laemmel has dedicated her life to inspiring kids through theater, but her program was in trouble.

By Meghan Overdeep
November 15, 2019
Facebook/The Theater Bug

A Nashville woman who has spent her career inspiring kids through song and dance was gifted the surprise of a lifetime this week.

Cori Laemmel founded The Theater Bug as a way to expose younger kids to the theater. Writing original plays and musicals based on important social issues, she goes above and beyond for more than 350 kids every year, using theater productions to inspire and build confidence.

"There's nothing they can't do right now, and I want them to walk into any room the way they would walk into The Bug," she told Good Morning America.

For Theater Bug performers like Kari Belle King, those aren't just words. "She has taught me to be myself, and to be brave and to keep going no matter what," King said.

But, after years of giving, Laemmel recently found herself needing help. The Bug, as it's affectionately known, was set to lose its space in 2020.

Unbeknownst to her, help was on the way.

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On Thursday, Laemmel's good friend, country singer Dierks Bentley, whose kids attend The Theater Bug, along with GMA correspondent TJ Holmes, and hundreds of her young performers, surprised her with $20,000 to help save the program.

"There are so many people I love in this room, it's amazing," Laemmel said live on GMA.

"You guys have absolutely no idea how incredible these kids are," she continued. "They're the best humans that exist and to be able to build something that raises the level of the Bug to the art that they're making and to the kindness they're putting into the world is just such a gift."

Congrats to all!

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