Michelle Obama's Broadway Performance Hits A Powerful Note

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images.
Michelle Obama appeared at one of Broadway's landmark theaters Monday, taking the stage along with some of the industry's biggest stars.

No, FLOTUS isn't auditioning for a post-White House role under the bright lights. The occasion was a performance promoting a powerful message — the importance of educating girls worldwide.

Broadway Shines A Light On Girls' Education, part of the Let Girls Learn initiative backed by the first lady, brought together spouses of heads of state and government and girls from a variety of groups to call attention to the estimated 62 million young women who aren't in school across the globe.

Halima Robert was one of those girls. After her mother died, the young girl from Malawi and her siblings were raised by their grandmother. Times were tough.

"I often went to school on an empty stomach, with no notebooks or pens," Robert, one of three young girls to share their stories onstage, told the audience gathered at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

But then her situation got even worse. Unable to provide for her, Robert's grandmother agreed to an arranged marriage for the then-15-year-old. Instead of studying, Robert spent her days cooking and fetching water for her new husband.

Robert sought help from a group that works to get young girls out of marriage. They succeeded. Now 17, Robert still doesn't get to eat three meals a day. But she does get to go to class. Her new dream is being a minister in her country's government, maybe even the minister of education.

“I now want to succeed more than ever," she said.

Obama, who delivered welcoming remarks in between performances from Broadway stars and comments from Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and first lady of Malawi, Gertrude Mutharika, urged the first spouses in the audience to use their platforms to "tell these stories and bring people together to take action for these girls."

"We all have so much more power than we think. And today, I'm urging you to use that power to help girls worldwide get the education they deserve," Obama said. "Reach out to your country's NGOs and corporations. Lobby your spouses. Talk directly to your citizens, especially your young people. More than 62 million girls around the world are counting on us to be their voice."
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