Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama is going on a U.S. arena tour to promote her memoir Becoming, and the ticket sales and prices are those of a major rock star, with the highest-level VIP ticket going for $3,000, not including service charges and other fees. The prices are even higher at ticket reseller agencies. Tickets went on sale on Sept. 21, and tour dates have already been added in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, New York.
Becoming is due for release on Nov. 13 from Crown Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. The arena tour begins Nov. 13 in Chicago and ends Dec. 19 in Brooklyn. The tour is headed to mostly Midwest, East Coast and West Coast cities. The only tour date in the South is in Dallas on Dec. 17.
The highest-price VIP ticket package includes a front-row seat, a meet-and-greet with Obama, an individual photo opportunity with her, a pre-show reception, a pre-signed autographed copy of Becoming, a collectible laminate and lanyard, an exclusive VIP gift item, VIP parking space, VIP entrance into the building, and VIP access to an on-site concierge and event staff.
Non-VIP tickets that are just for admission to the show, with the option to purchase Becoming, had prices ranging from $30 to $1,856, not including service charges and other fees. The ticket prices depend on the proximity to the stage. Tickets priced under $300 sold out quickly in most markets.
Obama is the first former first lady to do this type of arena tour. Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and other former first ladies who have authored books have done traditional tours that took place at bookstores or venues much smaller than arenas. In June, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and thriller author James Patterson did a U.S. tour that included arenas to promote their mystery novel The President Is Missing.
In February 2017, Michelle Obama and her husband Barack Obama signed a record-setting $60 million deal with Penguin Random House for each of them to write a memoir. There's no word yet on when Barack Obama's memoir will be released, but he will most likely do an arena tour. Publishers Weekly reported that Penguin Random House "will donate 1 million books in the Obama name to First Book, a PRH nonprofit partner and the Washington, DC-based partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks. The Obamas also plan to donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation."
In May, the Obamas signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to provide content that could include specials, series or films that are scripted, unscripted with hired cast members, or documentary. It has not been announced when the content will premiere, and the financial details of the Netflix deal have not been disclosed.
Here are the tour dates for Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama:
Dec. 19 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center