I’m a passive observer of broadway. I grew up listening to my mom’s playlists on her pink knock-off iPod device, and thus have known the words to “Opening: I Hope I Get It” from “A Chorus Line” and “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” before I started the third grade.
Yet, there was something particularly special about the Broadway performances during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They were just always better than the random celebrity performances on top of floats with out-of-place dancing puppets. These were experts in their craft performing in the street and thus I’m going to list some of my favorites in no particular order.
I know I said in no particular order, but this is my favorite. I grew up watching “Anastasia” and so the music was already memorized before the musical came out, but Christy Altomare completely knocked the vocals out of the park. It’s beautiful and provides the perfect comparison other Macy’s Thanksgiving performances need to follow. It has the songs, the acting and the costumes, and just fully draws you into the performance without needing to know a lot of the backstory.
Alright, again, I know I said in no particular order, but this is probably my second favorite. I’m a big fan of “Kinky Boots” and Billy Porter. There’s something about thigh-high heels and Cyndi Lauper that makes me pay attention to a performance, making this just stand out to me.
I just really love Sutton Foster. She’s amazing and if you want to see anyone absolutely kill “Anything Goes,” it’s her. She’s fabulous, so she’s the main reason this is on my list at all as she does a little dance number in this performance. But this is just a generally fun one. I don’t understand why Broadway shows come on and perform their slowest, saddest songs. For heaven’s sake keep it peppy and energized people! This keeps it cheerful and highlights a show I don’t think many just naturally know, so it’s up there in my favorite performances.
“Shrek The Musical” makes me feel a lot of things; none of them are good, but this is a pretty iconic performance nonetheless. It’s Shrek and Fiona on top of a tree thing playing “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth with people in pig mascot costumes as their backup vocalists. I’m sure I liked this a lot when I was nine years old, and now I just sit and wonder what we did to warrant the creation of “Shrek” in this reality. But it’s there and I thought it was worth a mention.
I think tap is pretty hot. Though not my favorite song from “NEWSIES,” this performance had The Paper Mill Playhouse cast of “NEWSIES” perform “King of New York.” There’s something so right about this being performed on the streets of New York. The location in addition to all the tap numbers and cool costumes secures this a mention on my list.
This gets a mention just because we have a lot of fans of “Dear Evan Hansen” on staff; so this is for them. They also performed “You Will Be Found”, which is probably my favorite song from the show. It’s all the layered harmonies and vocal mixing … but it’s not my favorite performance. I want a Macy’s Thanksgiving performance with ridiculous costumes and rosy cheeks because these poor dancers are out in their costumes at the end of November. These people could be someone’s distant family members with strong vocal cords, so they don’t get an A+ rating from me.
“Wicked” is a classic and they’re actually set to perform on this Thanksgiving Day Parade, so giving a quick shout-out to their 2003 performance is important. This gets a spot because it’s Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in all their classic perfection performing “One Short Day.” It’s not a favorite of mine, nor one of their more well-known pieces, but it’s Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, they were going to get on this list whatever they sing.
I think this was one of the more successful Disney to Broadway transitions as the music, the sets, the costumes and the energy just transformed so well to the stage. This parade had the show performing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and it was incredible. Though I’d say it wasn’t as good as their performance on their Royal Variety Performance where the Royal Family comes and watches, still it is incredibly good.
“White Christmas” (2008)
I love the movie “White Christmas” and not just for Vera-Ellen’s tiny waist and great footwork. It’s got the music, the great costumes and it just gets you into the spirit of the holiday. So this performance was magical and with all of the men in red suits, it’s a perfect addition to this list.
This year “Six”, “Moulin Rouge!” and “Wicked” are set to perform and I can’t wait to see how it is and if we’re back to slightly normal after last year. I want the costumes, the singing and any tap routines these people are willing to give me!