NEW YORK – This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving parade will march down Broadway today with a grumpy green Shrek – one of three new balloons – and the Virginia Tech marching band playing in tribute to victims of last spring’s campus shooting.
The 81st annual parade will also feature the cast of “Legally Blonde” minus costumes and props, which are locked behind the picket lines of striking Broadway stagehands.
This year’s 11 giant helium balloons include three new ones: William Steig’s swamp-loving ogre, “Sesame Street’s” fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby and Hello Kitty Supercute, the cape- and tiara-wearing feline superhero.
When the parade gets under way today, it’ll be to a Michael Feinstein tune especially written for 600 kids from around the nation whose opening number was choreographed by John Dietrich of the Radio City Rockettes.
Some 10,000 people will march this year, half of them Macy’s employees.
Among them will be almost 2,000 cheerleaders, 800 clowns, the Rockettes and 11 marching bands including the Virginia Tech Regimental Band – nicknamed the Highty-Tighties – on the route from Central Park West to Herald Square in front of Macy’s.
Four Broadway shows – “Legally Blonde,” “Mary Poppins,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Xanadu” – nabbed coveted positions in the parade, the only annual event besides the Tony Awards where Broadway struts its stuff on national TV.