"It is a badly kept secret that every theatre around the world holds four tickets even after a show is sold out for the Pope or the President."
Broadway in Chicago
Wow, I never knew the real purpose behind house seats. So, does the theatre manager have to call the White House (or the Vatican) a half hour before curtain time to make sure they won't be needed? (I know, I know, house tickets are used for other purposes, too, like when your seats get eaten up by an expanded stage and they need to put you somewhere.)
I read that in a blog post from Mulvihill, executive director of sales for Broadway in Chicago, who recounted some of the Obama family's theatergoing, which apparently wasn't extensive but they did go occasionally.
Then-Senator Obama and his wife, Michelle, attended a performance of The Color Purple, in 2007. The couple have also been to Chicago's Goodman Theatre, to see Regina Taylor's Drowning Crow. Michelle Obama took Sasha and Malia to see Wicked and High School Musical. Here's some more on their cultural outings, from the Los Angeles Times.
Let's hope the Obamas take full advantage of those house seats. As Michael Kahn, artistic director of Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company, told the L.A. Times, "if the first family appreciates and participates in arts events, it’s something that is part of American life. It sends a good message that the arts count.”