What would you do if the leader of the free world casually walked down the theater aisle while you were waiting for the curtain to rise and a Broadway show to start? Lose your shit, probably.
A couple weeks ago, audience members were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime surprise when Barack and Michelle Obama dropped in to see Denzel Washington’s acting chops in the Tony-nominated revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
BuzzFeed sat down with the play’s director Kenny Leon to learn more about the memorable moment.
Have you ever seen anything awkward happen on stage [during A Raisin in the Sun]? Any mishaps?
Kenny Leon: There was a mishap when the president came to see the show. The sound system wouldn’t stop buzzing and the president said, “Is that normal?” and I said, “No, something is wrong.” He asked what we should do and I said, “Well, if you weren’t here, I would go backstage and figure it out, but Secret Service is back there so I can’t go back there!” And he said, “I can fix that.”
That must have been crazy. Can you tell us about that day?
KL: They had to search the theater, there was Secret Service everywhere, dogs everywhere, snipers on top of the building. But what I loved about it was that we were actually at the safest place on the planet, you know? It was really great to see the president there with his wife and sit there and take in the art. The best moment was when she [Michelle] left to say, “You know what, I’m going to bring mama and the girls to see this.” It was great.
Was everyone in the audience freaking out?
KL: Oh yeah, everyone was screaming. Another beautiful moment was when the president said, “Go inside and get your daughter” — because my daughter came with me that night — “I want to take a picture with the two of you and me and Michelle.” That was really great, and it was his idea.