Performers prepare for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York – Growing up in Chicago, Broadway star Britney Mac faithfully watched Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV after she did her parade duties. Now she’s getting ready to gather, roam the streets of Manhattan and be part of the big group for the first time.
Mac, who plays one of Henry VIII’s wives in the hit musical “Six,” is set to perform a selection of some of her songs live Thursday with her fellow cast and band in front of a televised audience of millions.
“I’ve got my tall buddies and it’s going to be epic,” she says. “I finally met Snoopy. This is really my dream – to see a big Snoopy balloon, honestly.”
Astronaut Snoopy will soar through the sky as the parade returns to its pre-pandemic format this year, with its path restored through Manhattan and high-flying helium balloons once again by handlers.
This year’s parade – the 95th annual – will be back in shape after bowing to pandemic restrictions last year. It will feature 15 giant balloons, 28 floats, 36 new and heritage inflatables, over 800 clowns, 10 bands, nine performance groups, and of course, ass-posses Santa Claus.
New balloon giants joining the lineup include Ada Twist, scientist; The petite-sized hero from “The Mandalorian” and Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sleigh.
Mack and her colleagues learned new choreography, took on new music and would rehearse in the street in front of the department store to get it right. Due to the nature of the active weather, she asked her fellow performers to “six” hand and foot warmers. “I wouldn’t be home to watch it, but I think the trade-off is pretty good,” she says.
Her grandmother is recording the show from Mississippi while her mother and the rest of her family will cheer from Chicago. Mack can be used for live performance but this time is private.
“The adult in me who worked so hard to get here is like, ‘You know? you will be fine. You are in it. Put it together. “I think I’ll also feel better when I see Snoopy, so everything will be fine.”
In addition to “Six”, Broadway will be represented by cast such as “Chicago”, “Waitress”, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Punk”. The Rockettes will be there, as will the cast in the upcoming live production of “Annie” on NBC.
Maya Bowles, who will represent the Tony Award winning “Moulin Rouge”! The Musical remembers “waking up every Thanksgiving in Atlanta and making pound cake with her mom while watching the show before gathering with her family at Grandma’s house.
“It definitely feels like I’m coming back after such a long, long hiatus,” she said. “A lot has changed so quickly. I feel, to me, it feels strange not to be with them for the holiday, but I am so grateful for doing what I am going to do.”
As in years past, the New York Police Department said it would close all vehicle access points to the parade route with garbage trucks full of sand and other heavy vehicles and nearly 360,000 pounds of concrete barriers. Thousands of officers are assigned to the parade route, including Anti-terror teams. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said there were no specific, credible threats to the show.
New floats will be led by the crew of “Girls5eva” – Sarah Barelli, Renee Elise Goldsbury, Paula Bell and Pussy Phillips – Nelly and Jordan Fisher, while Jon Baptiste will be on a crocodile-themed float to celebrate Louisiana’s music, food and culture.
Other celebrities present include Carrie Underwood, Jimmy Allen, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Kristen Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Alien, Andy Grammer, Mickey Gayton, Chris Lynn, Miss America Camille Schreyer, and the animated dolls from “Sesame Street” and the past three. And the current hosts of “Blue’s Clues” – Steve Burns, Donovan Patton and Josh Dela Cruz.
Some of the returning balloons will be “The Boss Baby”, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, Chase from “Paw Patrol”, Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World”, Papa Smurf, Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants.
The Macy’s Parade has been a traditional kick-off for the holiday season and spectators often line a half-dozen deep along the route to cheer on about 8,000 protesters, dozens of floats, artists, and bands.
Last year, the regular 2 1/2-mile route through congested Manhattan was scrapped in favor of a focus of events on the stretch of 34th Street in front of Manhattan’s flagship retailer. Many of the shows were pre-recorded and most of the show’s artists were local to reduce travel. The balloons are attached to specialized vehicles rather than being controlled by operators.
Mark Kennedy in http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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