Thursday, November 23, 2017

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Waitress

So Waitress has performed on the parade before (it was on the star last time) but now that they have new cast (Betsy Wolfe and Jason Mraz) and they're still cooking on Broadway! Instead of watching the whole cast performing Opening up or the sultry solo "She Used To Be Mine" (their previous go to talk show performances), it was fun to see "It Only Takes a Taste" (a cute duet between the two new stars). It showed the show's heart and fun side and certainly made me want to dig up the album and listen through it again.  I think it's cool how CBS takes the time to let older shows return to the spotlight and remind us of how fun they can be and I thought this was a lovely performance.  While it might not have brought the house down, it was very nice.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Come From Away

So I know NBC is the place to watch the Parade and that's what we do too.  But while NBC is covering the Broadway shows performing on the star, CBS has shows perform in their home theater and they broadcast those while they wait for the parade to reach them.

Now I'm a huge fan of Come From Away so I was excited to see them perform anything, but I was definitely expecting "Welcome to the Rock" or "Me and the Sky."  I was pleasantly surprised to get to see them perform a number I've NEVER seen before: "38 Planes (Reprise)/Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere." I 100% understand why this isn't the song they usually perform at public appearances, while it's got a good energy and momentum and I feel does capture the spirit of the show pretty well, it does kind of catch up in the middle of these characters and can be best appreciated if you know the rest of the show that comes behind it.  As someone who does know the rest of the show, it was so cool to get to see the story I've been hearing for so long.  As always, Jen Colella and the whole cast killed it, the choreography (if you can call it that? Maybe just stylized movement) was awesome and I was just so excited the entire time.  I maintain that this is one of the coolest shows to come to Broadway in a long time and it keeps me excited about what kind of great art we can expect for years to come! This show has a perfect thanksgiving message and this song captured that beautifully. Everyone should see this.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Once On This Island

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS SHOW!!! So this is a great show written by an incredible duo who have some really innovative orchestrations, directed by a genius who has a super unique and fun vision for it, and has an all-star cast including some really cool non-traditional casting. In short, they're doing things differently, and it's great and I'm so excited.

Ok, so this performance was a bit of a surprise. In most of the other performances and clips we've seen a lot of "Mama Will Provide" and "Waiting for Life" so it's fun to see the whole ensemble featured instead of just a couple of soloists. And even though I've been following this show and soaking up every piece of information I can about this show, I still got some cool surprises from this performance.  I loved the way they did the costuming! The peasants weren't wearing rags or traditional tribal clothes as many productions do it, but wearing "homemade" costumes that were built off of what we would actually see on an island.  And then, to contrast, we saw the Grand Om (spelling?) in their pearly whites showing the contrast that's so important to this show.  I also didn't see the school children coming, but I definitely don't hate it! The show is about story telling (among other things) and usually that's interpreted by telling stories to the little girl/audience, but including other kids to be told is an exciting twist.  The song itself was alright.  I think it would be more fun to see in the space (it's meant to be performed in the Round on a stage they've filled with sand) but they did a good job with what they had and I remain more and more eager to see this gem of a show every time I learn something new about it!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Anastasia

So the one thing I've heard about Anastasia is that it has beautiful costumes, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  Those clothes were gorgeous! As for the song...I can't say I'm a fan. I would've liked to have seen a more energetic group number, but I understand why they wanted to do what are probably the most beloved songs from the movie.  But that still doesn't excuse using a solo as a Macy's number.  The song was nice, and I suppose they were targeting the "little princesses" in the audience who would be drawn to a royal ball such as this, but I felt a little underwhelmed by it all.  I would have appreciated it if they had utilized Derek Klena or Ramin Karimloo (or whoever has taken over his role if he's already gone).  This venue doesn't allow you to really get immersed in the world, so I think (generally) it's safer to go "fun" than "beautiful."

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Dear Evan Hansen


Ok, now for this performance. They picked the perfect song (that they SHOULD have done for the Tony's). As far as I'm concerned it's the Broadway anthem for this generation and a great message to share on Thanksgiving.  It was interesting to see a Broadway performance this stripped down. They were wearing what could easily pass as street clothes and, since the DEH set is so heavily based on projections and lighting, there wasn't any set to be brought in. They even gave the cast the mics that they give the singers on the float instead of having them do it as they would in the show.  I'll be honest, I think they were still lip synching (because I think they have to in that space) but it did give the song a more natural feel.  Also, I'm proud of my boy Noah Galvin (who I've thought was awesome since The Burnt Part Boys) finally making it big and leading his cast through a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade number! He was a little shaky starting up, but he killed it.  It was really nice to see the cast give an important (if a little underwhelming) performance. DEH is selling out like crazy and they didn't need this performance to sell tickets, this was for us...and I appreciate that.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: SpongeBob SquarePants

So we've been aware that SpongeBob has been heading to Broadway for a while now.  Most Broadway purists have been a bit worried about what SpongeBob might mean for Broadway, but so far it's shown some promise. The design (costume/set) is brilliant, the cast impressive (Gavin Lee!) and the music can be fairly catchy! I've seen lots of highlight reels, but this was my first time seeing a full number.

They picked the perfect song.  Having listened through the full soundtrack (you can find it here) I can tell you this song is one of the gems.  It's fun, high energy, and gives a good window into the tone of the show.  It's a world building opening number and those are (in my opinion) some of the best parade numbers.  Our fearless leader had a little trouble with the lip syncing at the beginning there and that put a bit of a damper on the first half of the song before the ensemble jumped in, but it got back on it's feet when it got bigger! I think that's what this show is going to be.  It's going to shine when it can dazzle and over-stimulate and suffer when it tries to zoom in and try to have "heart."  But despite what I think about the show, this was a good opening number. The people who are going to want to see this show will like this number, and that's what it's all about.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Opening Number

So that was fun! The opening number of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is always a good time! The past few years they've had Broadway shows do the opening numbers (On Your Feet last year and On The Town the year before).  But I really enjoyed this original number!  I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if it was a commercial or the actual thing when it started, but it ended up being really good.  To transition from the pre-recorded portion to the live dance number at the Macy's Star was a fun reveal and I thought it captured the general community spirit and joyous attitude that make this parade, and this whole season, so wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving all!