Arts & Culture News

Michelle Obama Doubled the Number of 'Hear Here' Subscriptions in One Day

AT&T Performing Arts Center
The AT&T Performing Arts Center's "Hear Here" speaker series just added another name to its list of distinguished speakers, and as they say in show business, this one's a biggie.

Former first lady Michelle Obama will be the guest of honor in a moderated speaker show March 8 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center as part of its series.

"We had been discussing with her representatives for a while, and it finally kind of jelled within the last few weeks," Chris Heinbaugh, vice president of external affairs for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, says. "We had already announced our current 'Hear Here' series, so it was announced as an add-on."

The tickets for the former first lady's show are on sale for one week to "Hear Here" subscribers. Among the other speakers are Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, actor Rob Lowe, astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson, Grammy and Tony-winning singer Rita Moreno, and actor and comedian Bill Murray.

Members of the Center Circle and Corporate Circle members will have a week to buy tickets starting Jan. 26. Remaining seats will go on sale to the general public after that.

"I think it clearly helps us elevate the 'Hear Here' speaking series. It's a series we're very proud of, and she's clearly a name that jumps out and helps bring attention to what we're trying to do with this speaker series." — Chris Heinbaugh

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"This is a big deal for us and for Dallas," Heinbaugh says. "From what we can see, [Obama] has only had a few speaking engagements, so this is significant and we're excited to bring her to Dallas and we think North Texas will accept her as well." 

Heinbaugh says Obama is helping to bring greater awareness to "Hear Here." When the center announced Obama's engagement, the number of subscribers to the series double within the day.

"I think it clearly helps us elevate the 'Hear Here' speaking series," he says. "It's a series we're very proud of, and she's clearly a name that jumps out and helps bring attention to what we're trying to do with this speaker series."

Obama was first lady from 2009-17 with her husband, Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United Statesa. She attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School before working as an attorney for the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she and her husband met. She's also worked at the office of the mayor of Chicago, the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medical Center.

During her time as the nation's first lady, Obama launched several public initiatives, including the Let's Move campaign to help combat childhood obesity; Joining Forces with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to increase awareness and support for service members and their families; Reach Higher, which aimed to inspire young people to plan for their collegiate endeavors; and Let Girls Learn, which encouraged young women to pursue education.

"We're excited about this," Heinbaugh says. "As a center, we're still in our young years, so for someone of Mrs. Obama's caliber to join our series, it's a significant thing for us and North Texas."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.