NEW YORK — Broadway star Brittney Mack grew up in Chicago and faithfully watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV after completing her own parade duties. Now she’s getting ready to band together, take to the streets of Manhattan, and be part of the big one for the first time.
Mack, who plays one of Henry VIII’s wives in the hit musical “Six,” is scheduled to perform a mashup of some of his songs live Thursday with her castmates and band in front of a television audience of millions. The parade will air at 9:00 AM (with a repeat at 2:00 PM) on WMAQ channel 5.
“I’ve got my long johns and it’s going to be epic,” she says. “Finally I meet Snoopy. That’s really my dream – to honestly see the big Snoopy balloon.”
Astronaut Snoopy will soar overhead as the parade returns to its pre-pandemic form this year, with its route restored through Manhattan and high-flying helium balloons once again pulled by handlers.
This year’s parade – the 95th annual – will be back in shape after giving in to pandemic restrictions last year. It will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 new and historic inflatables, over 800 clowns, 10 marching bands, and nine performance groups and, of course, Santa coming on the back.
New balloon giants joining the lineup include Ada Twist, Scientist; the little hero from ‘The Mandalorian’ and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sled.
Mack and her castmates have learned new choreography, had the new music, and will be rehearsing in the street in front of the department store to get it right. As the weather looks good, she kindly ordered hand warmers and foot warmers for her fellow ‘Six’ performers.
“I won’t be home to watch it, but I think the trade-off is pretty good,” said the actor, who has been with “Six” since its North American premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2019.
Her grandmother will be taking on the parade from Mississippi, while her mother and the rest of her family will be cheering from Chicago. Mack may be used to performing live, but this time is special.
“The grown-up in me who’s worked so hard to get here is like, ‘You know what? You’ll be fine. You’re in it. Get it together,’ she says. I feel when I see Snoopy, so it’ll be all right.”
In addition to ‘Six’, Broadway will be represented by the cast of ‘Chicago’, ‘Waitress’, ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ and ‘Wicked’. The Rockettes will be there, as well as the cast of the upcoming NBC live production of “Annie”.
Maya Bowles, who will be on hand to represent the Tony-winning “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” she recalls waking up in Atlanta every Thanksgiving and baking cake with her mother while watching the parade before returning to Grandma’s house with her family.
“It really feels so special to come back after this long, long hiatus,” she said. “A lot has changed so quickly. I feel like it’s weird for me not to be with them during the holidays, but I’m super grateful to be able to do what I’m going to do.”
There will be new floats led by the cast of Peacock’s “Girls5eva” – Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps – Nelly and Jordan Fisher, while Jon Batiste on an alligator themed float controls the music, food and food. of Louisiana. culture.
Other celebrities in attendance include Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Foreigner, Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America Camille Schrier, Muppets from “Sesame Street” and the three past and current hosts of “Blue’s Clues”: Steve Burns, Donovan Patton and Josh Dela Cruz.
Some of the returning balloons include “The Boss Baby”, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, Chase from “Paw Patrol”, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World”, Papa Smurf, Sonic the Hedgehog and Spongebob Squarepants.
The Macy’s parade is a traditional kick-off to the holiday season, and spectators often queue half a dozen deep along the route to cheer on about 8,000 protesters, two dozen floats, entertainers and marching bands.
Last year, the usual 2 1/2 mile route through busy Manhattan was scrapped in favor of concentrating events on a one-block stretch of 34th Street in front of Manhattan’s flagship store in Manhattan. Many performances were recorded and most of the parade’s performers were locally based to cut down on travel. The balloons were attached to specialized vehicles instead of being controlled by handlers.