Michelle Obama will be interviewed by her friend, Oprah Winfrey, at the Nov. 13 kick-off of the former first lady’s book tour at the United Center in Chicago, with other high-profile pals moderating conversations at events promoting the publication of the memoir, “Becoming.”
Winfrey, who vaulted from Chicago television host to global fame for her work in business and philanthropy, is a friend of Obama and former President Barack Obama.
Winfrey’s important place in political history was her decision late in 2007 to jump into the Democratic presidential primary fray and stump for Barack Obama in the crucial early vote states.
Winfrey this year donated at least $1 million to the Obama Presidential Foundation, according to foundation disclosure records.
The “Becoming” book tour will visit 10 cities, with two shows in Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn. The 12 events are being billed as “an intimate conversation with Michelle Obama.”
Former Obama White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who gave a young lawyer, Michelle Robinson a job in Chicago’s City Hall – and who went on to be instrumental to Barack Obama’s quick rise to the White House – will be the moderator for events in Washington and Dallas.
The United Center will be configured into a venue with approximately 14,000 seats, a spokesman for Live Nation Entertainment, the book tour producers, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Tickets range from $29.50 to $3,000, with scalpers seeking more.
Michelle Obama is giving away 10 percent of the tickets in each venue to various groups, so in Chicago, the free tickets will number about 1,400.
The Obama book team is in the process of selecting organizations getting the tickets. Chicago CRED –Creating Real Economic Destiny – whose leaders include former Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will be getting 25 tickets, the organization told the Sun-Times.
CRED “is focused on working with young, African American men in Chicago. Helping them to transition from the street economy to legal economy through life coaching, academic mentoring, and job skills training,” spokesman Amy Low said.
The Chicago office of another group, Bottom Line, was also given 25 tickets, a spokesman said. The organization helps low income students enroll in college and stay to get a degree.
Another group getting some tickets is Chicago Debates, which traces its origins to the Chicago Debate Commission, led by the late Illinois Supreme Court Justice Seymour Simon. It is now affiliated with the National Urban Debate League.
Other high profile moderators will be poet Elizabeth Alexander; former NPR host Michele Norris; actress Sarah Jessica Parker; comedian Phoebe Robinson and actress producers Tracee Ellis Ross and Reese Witherspoon.