Students on the drill team at one Oklahoma high school got a big surprise when Broadway superstar Kristen Chenoweth walked into their gymnasium.
But what Chenoweth didn’t know was the high school students in her former hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, had a surprise waiting for her, too: her former drill team coach, Gladys Decker.
“She just instilled in me to be on time, to be professional, but she also was a positive role model,” Chenoweth said on “The View” Wednesday. “And I see that they’re still doing it. And it made me really proud. I was so proud of it.”
“She believed in me, and she believed in all those girls,” she added. “I just also want to say when you go home, if you haven’t gone home, you should go… because it… becomes about a bigger deal than yourself.”
Over the last five years, the Tony and Emmy award-winning actress has given back to her hometown by running a Broadway boot camp at Broken Arrow’s Performing Arts Center.
“Growing up… we didn’t have Broadway, we didn’t have... just didn’t have that stuff,” Chenoweth said.
Chenoweth said over 1,000 kids auditioned to be in the program last year.
“I bring in all my famous friends to teach… seven day[s of] intensive singing, acting, dancing, and then we put on a show at the end,” she said. “I’ve got some future Tony award winners and Grammy winners… I’m really proud of it.”
Chenoweth went back to her hometown as part of ABC’s “I’m Coming Home” special, from executive producer Whoopi Goldberg.
In addition to Chenoweth, country music star Jake Owen and entrepreneur Daymond John, from ABC's “Shark Tank,” also visited their childhood homes to reconnect with the people who shaped who they are today as part of the “I’m Coming Home” special.
“I’m Coming Home” airs Thursday, Nov. 22, at 10:00 p.m. EST on ABC.