Michelle Obama tapped some big voices to help deliver her push to get girls educated across the world.
The U.S. first lady went to Broadway September 19 to host a concert for the spouses of global heads of state that included performances from the female-centric shows The Color Purple, Waitress, Wicked and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
“More than 62 million girls around the world are counting on us to be their voice,” Obama said. “And I intend to continue speaking out on their behalf — not just for the rest of my time as first lady but for the rest of my life. And I hope that you all will join me.”
The concert was held at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre — the normal home of The Color Purple — as part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, which encourages world leaders to provide educational opportunities to millions of girls globally who do not attend school.
The event, emceed by TV talk show host Stephen Colbert, took advantage of the gathering of world leaders in New York for the opening of the 71st United Nations General Assembly. More than 50 spouses attended, along with public school children and Girl Scouts, who packed the theater.
Colbert joked that Michelle Obama is one of the most admired women in the world, “despite her constantly telling everyone to eat their vegetables.”
Remarks also were made by three girls from Jordan, Pakistan and Malawi about the work in their home countries still needed for adolescent girls, as well as songwriter Sara Bareilles, Jordan’s Queen Rania, and Gertrude Mutharika, the first lady of Malawi.
The 90-minute event included the 2016 Best Actress Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo singing a powerful “I’m Here” from The Color Purple, Jennifer DiNoia and Carrie St. Louis singing “For Good” from Wicked, the performers Charity Angel Dawson, Stephanie Torns and Jenna Ushkowitz singing “A Soft Place to Land” from Waitress, and a medley of songs by Carole King led by Chilina Kennedy.