For a fleeting moment, Broadway will be back in New York City. In two weeks, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will call upon tradition to present a roster of Broadway talent as part of its modified annual spectacular.
The socially-distanced performances will be pre-taped over a two-day period and aired on NBC alongside real-time parade festivities on the morning of Nov. 26, according to The New York Times. After months of stage closures, cast members from “Hamilton,” “Mean Girls,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” are set to join the celebration’s fleet of gigantic balloons, which will be pulled this year by specialty vehicles rather than the typical 80–100 handlers.
For those missing the glimmering sounds of Tschaikovsky this winter, New York City Ballet will conjure “The Nutcracker” with a performance from principal dancer Ashley Bouder as the Sugarplum Fairy. The company, which will not return to its home theater at Lincoln Center until next fall, will be featured on the “Central Park” float from Delta Airlines.
Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will host, with celebrities Dolly Parton, Jordin Sparks, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Leslie Odom Jr. and more making featured appearances.
The 94th annual celebration will see the debut of new balloons and floats — including a lurching animatronic creation (titled “Tourist Trap”) that places cat-and-mouse frenemies Tom and Jerry in a furry of “comic chaos.” In step with COVID-19 precautions, the parade’s footprint will be shrunk down from its traditional two-and-a-half-mile trek to a single city block on 34th Street in front of the Macy’s flagship store. Pre-recorded elements will be staged around the Herald Square area in Manhattan.
Among the changes to this year’s parade is the elimination of the annual balloon inflation event the day before Thanksgiving. There will still be marching bands, though the groups will all be local, with those previously selected from out of town deferred until next year. An anchoring figure of the proceedings, Santa Claus will also make an appearance, waving to audiences at home rather than a packed crowd in the streets.
When the new plan for the parade was announced in September, executive producer Susan Tercero stated organizers felt it was “important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families.”
“Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends,” Tercero said. “While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose — to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation.”
The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC-TV Nov. 26 at 9 a.m. Eastern.
Top Image: Photo: Shinya Suzuki.