There’s plenty to see every year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade between floats and performances — including an impressive lineup from Broadway.
The parade tradition dates back nearly a century, when Macy’s flagship Manhattan store put on its first holiday parade on Thanksgiving morning in 1924, in hopes to attract customers for holiday shopping. The parade has grown and evolved to the hourslong event filled with towering balloons, celebrity performers and festive floats that we know today.
It’s no surprise that Broadway, known for its spectacular performances that many travel across the world to take in, stole the show at the parade this Thanksgiving.
‘Funny Girl’ Lea Michele opened the parade
The 96th annual parade kicked off with a pitch-perfect performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” led by Lea Michele, who currently stars in Broadway’s “Funny Girl,” along with her fellow cast members.
She put a holiday spin on the song, swapping a lyric about “Mr. Arnstein” for “Hey Mister Macy’s, here I am.”
Many fans took to Twitter to praise the performance that opened the parade.
“Having Lea Michele open the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade was PERFECT,” he wrote @RJGordon101.
“Lea Michele is stupid talented,” added @casxcfc.
Others, though, weren’t as enthusiastic about the former “Glee” star’s parade opening.
“Macy’s parade would be better if it didn’t start with Lea Michele,” @terkzz wrote.
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‘Lion King’ wows with ‘Circle of Life’ performance
“The Lion King” cast also put on an act, performing “Circle of Life” and wowing viewers.
The performance came shortly after the show celebrated 25 years on Broadway earlier this month. It ranks the “most successful musical of all time,” said Hoda Kotb, hosting with “Today” colleague Savannah Guthrie, ahead of the performance.
It’s been seen by more than 112 million people, Kotb said.
Viewers shared their reviews of the performance.
“Never fails to make me cry tears of joy. Happy Thanksgiving y’all!” wrote Alex Cochrane in the comments of the official YouTube video of the performance.
Chris Witherspoon shared a similar experience on Twitter: “I def just teared up watching that performance from The Lion King. I needed that. #MacysParade.”
‘Some Like It Hot,’ Rockettes, more performances at the Macy’s Parade
Other numbers, taking place in a viewing area near the Macy’s flagship in New York City’s Herald Square, from Broadway shows included demonstrations from “A Beautiful Noise,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Aladdin” and “Six .”
The Radio City Rockettes made an appearance, too, showing off their signature kick line.
Contributing: Wyatte Grantham-Phillips