New York: Former US President Barack Obama discreetly attended a Broadway show here with his eldest daughter, leaving the audience pleasantly surprised.
Obama accompanied by Malia and his former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, attended the Broadway show Arthur Miller’s ‘The Price’ here last night.
The three took their seats several rows back from the stage shortly after the lights went down at the theater for the show, starring Mark Ruffalo and Danny DeVito.
A report in the New York Times said a woman sitting nearby let out a small yelp on realising the Obamas were sitting next to her but most of the audience did not realise they were watching a Broadway show with someone who had been the most powerful person in the world.
“Well, I actually didn’t know he was sitting in the row,” said Queens resident Laralyn Mowers, 37, who was sitting five seats to the right of Obama and did not realise he was there until a friend told her at intermission. “I had a really bad day and it all just changed”.
Mowers said she was initially irritated when the trio first came in, not knowing it was the former president and his daughter.
“Who is so rude to come in after the show starts with the flashlights and everything?” she said.
The NYT report said Obama wore glasses during the show and at one point during the second act, he and his daughter sat in identical poses: right hands pressed to their chins while intently observing the drama before them.
Just before intermission, again in darkness, Obama, his daughter and Jarrett were escorted backstage to greet the cast and to take pictures with the crew. This time too, most of the crowd was oblivious to his presence.
After the play ended, the Obamas and Jarrett joined the crowd in a standing ovation for the cast, the most visible they had been all night and then soon left the venue.
The audience members who managed to see the former president were heard expressing surprise that he had been there.
The Obamas have kept a low profile since Donald Trump took office. The former First Couple enjoyed a much-needed vacation at the British Virgin Islands at the invitation of Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group.
During the performance of ‘The Price’, a line from DeVito’s character, a furniture dealer, about the federal government being unreliable drew the biggest laugh of the night but Obama sat stone-faced, the report said.
“He said that he was happy that it was while he was not in office,” Ruffalo said.