2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Celine Dion, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots added to lineup

November 13, 2019

The following is a press release from NBC:

A spectacle like no other awaits millions as the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, the nation’s most cherished holiday tradition, once again kicks off the holiday season. Millions of families will tune in to watch the excitement unfold on Thursday, Nov. 28 as Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker of NBC News’ “TODAY” host the broadcast from 9 a.m.-noon in all time zones that will also include a special debut performance from her new album Courage by the incomparable Celine Dion.

The Macy’s Parade has must-see entertainment for everyone in the family. Joining the festivities will be stars from a variety of global music genres from pop, R&B and country to Latin and K-Pop, with a few noteworthy special appearances thrown in the mix. Appearing or performing onboard one of Macy’s signature floating stages will be Natasha Bedingfield, Black Eyed Peas, Chicago, Ciara, Josh Dela Cruz, Celine Dion, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Debbie Gibson, former NASA astronauts Kay Hire & Janet Kavandi, Chris Janson, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, NHL legends Dominic Moore and Eddie Olczyk, the cast & Muppets of Sesame Street, NCT 127, Ozuna, Billy Porter, Kelly Rowland, That Girl Lay Lay, TLC, Tenille Townes and Chris Young; with an extra special appearance by the one-and-only Santa Claus.

To kick-off the revelry, a special must-see opening number featuring a who’s who of actors, singers, dancers and more, all joined by the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, will start the Thanksgiving Day party with a smash.

Following the opener on 34th Street, Broadway’s best shows will take a star turn in front of Macy’s famed flagship with special performances from the casts of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Beetlejuice, Hadestown and Tina – The Tina Turner Musical. In addition, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes® will bring their signature high-kicking magic to Herald Square.

Since November 1924, the magic of the holiday season has begun with the march of the Macy’s Parade as it enthrals the nation with its signature mix of whimsical elements and special performances. For the 93rd edition, the line-up will feature 16 giant character balloons; 40 novelty balloons, heritage balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; and 11 marching bands.

“We are thrilled to present the 93rd edition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to our viewers nationwide,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs, NBC Entertainment. “This iconic tradition will once again jump start the holiday season with a celebration led by an incredible lineup of performers, bands, floats, balloons and more.”

For the fourth year, Macy’s, along with NBCUniversal and Verizon, will give viewers an up close and personal second screen experience of the Parade with a 360-degree livestream on Verizon’s YouTube page. The stream will go live at 8:30 a.m. EST at www.youtube.com/verizon and will run through noon EST. With exclusive access to cameras along the entire Parade route, online spectators will get a glimpse of the magic behind the scenes, as well as a preview of what’s to come as the Parade marches down the streets of Manhattan. Additional information on the livestream to be announced soon.

New giant balloons joining the line-up this year include Astronaut Snoopy by Peanuts Worldwide, Green Eggs and Ham by Netflix, and SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary by Nickelodeon. In celebration of his 75thbirthday, a heritage balloon and fan-favorite will return to the Parade as Smokey Bear returns to the skies over Manhattan.

Since 2005, the Macy’s Parade has also been home to a collection of high-flying artworks created in collaboration with renowned contemporary artists, as part of a special series titled Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery. This year, for the eighth edition of the collection, the world’s most renowned female contemporary artist will take her iconic art to new heights as Yayoi Kusama joins the Macy’s Parade with her Love Flies Up to the Sky balloon creation. The balloon design was developed by the artist from face motifs that appear in her “My Eternal Soul” series of paintings — a body of work that she began in 2009. Vibrant and animated, the paintings embody Kusama’s innovative exploration of form and revolve around a tension between abstraction and figuration. The artist’s signature dots, which recur throughout her practice, also feature prominently in the Macy’s Parade balloon design. Previous balloons in the Macy’s Parade Blue Sky Gallery series have included works from famed artists Tom Otterness, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, Tim Burton, KAWS and FriendsWithYou.

This year five new floats will debut, including Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues & You! (Josh Dela Cruz), The Brick-changer by The Lego Group (NCT 127), Home Sweet Home by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® (Tenille Townes), Rexy in the City by COACH® (Billy Porter), and Toy House of Marvelous Milestones by New York Life (Kelly Rowland).

The nation’s best marching bands bring the beat to the holiday revelry. For this year’s 93rd march, 11 of the specially chosen ensembles will ignite coast-to-coast excitement and hometown pride as they step off and perform on the streets of the Big Apple. This year’s bands include Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band (St. Petersburg, FL), Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment (Blue Springs, MO), Catalina Foothills Falcon Band (Tucson, AZ), Franklin Regional Panther Band (Murrysville, PA), Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States), Madison Central High School Band (Richmond, KY), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High School’s Kings of Halftime (Lithonia, GA), Morgan State University’s The Magnificent Marching Machine (Baltimore, MD), NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY), Ronald Reagan High School Marching Band (San Antonio, TX) and Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band (Cullowhee, NC).

Entertaining the crowds with their signature exuberance will be the Parade’s signature large and specialty performance groups. Joining the line-up this year are the teen dancers and cheerleaders of Spirit of America Dance Stars and Spirit of America Cheer. These groups together feature more than 1,200 of the very best performers recruited from hometowns nationwide. Days before Thanksgiving, they will gather for the first time in New York City to rehearse their numbers as a group, ahead of their once-in-a-lifetime national spotlight. Adding some wacky 1980s style dancing will be the hilarious 610 Stompers (New Orleans, LA), with modern dance youth talent showcased by The Alvin Ailey School (New York, NY) and the tap dance theatrics of children from The Nice List (New York, NY). Rounding out the performance group line-up and joining select talent performances will be Gamma Phi Circus (Normal, IL), Manhattan Youth Ballet (New York, NY), the dance stars of the world-renowned in-school arts education program National Dance Institute (New York, NY) and Young People’s Chorus of NYC (New York, NY).

PLEASE NOTE: All talent, performers, elements and information included are subject to change.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Ron de Moraes directs.

For an insider’s look at the holiday procession, fans nationwide should visit macys.com/parade for regular updates including behind-the-scenes previews, special tours, interactive historical information, and more. Fans can also follow @macys on various social networks and join the conversation using #MacysParade.

2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, Moody Blues, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe inducted; Tom Petty, Chris Cornell get tributes

April 15, 2018

by Carla Hay

Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi during Bon Jovi’s performance at the 33rd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium in Cleveland on April 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

On April 14, 2018, at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, the 33rd annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony formally inducted Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone (in the performer category) and Sister Rosetta Tharpe (in the early influencer category). The inductees, announced in December 2017, were voted on by a combination of ballots from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members and online voting from the public. HBO will televise highlights from the ceremony in a special that premieres on May 5, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Bon Jovi’s performance included the band’s reunion with two former Bon Jovi members: guitarist Richie Sambora (who was in Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013) and bassist Alec John Such, who was in Bon Jovi from 1983 to 1994. Radio personality Howard Stern inducted Bon Jovi, whose current members are lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan, bassist Hugh McDonald and guitarist Phil X. Bon Jovi’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame set list consisted of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “It’s My Life,” “When We Were Us” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

The Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers inducted the Cars, who formed in 1976 and amicably disbanded in 1988, but they had all surviving original members in attendance  at the induction ceremony: lead singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. (Bass player Benjamin Orr died in 2000 of pancreatic cancer.) The reunited Cars then went on to perform “My Best Friend’s Girl,”  “Moving in Stereo,” “Just What I I Needed” and “You Might Think” with Weezer’s Scott Shriner filling in on bass.

Later in the ceremony, the Killers performed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” and Petty’s solo song “Free Fallin'” in a tribute to Petty, who died in 2017 of opioid-related causes.

Dire Straits broke up in 1995, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony wasn’t enough to bring the band’s most famous lineup back together. Former Dire Straits lead singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler and his rhythm guitarist David Knopfler opted not to attend; the two brothers who co-founded Dire Straits did not give an official explanation for snubbing the ceremony, but there have been reports that David Knopfler had issues with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s travel reimbursements. Former Dire Straits members Alan Clark (keyboards), Guy Fletcher (guitar) and John Illsley (bass) were there to represent the band at the ceremony, and they performed “Telegraph Road”

The Moody Blues, inducted by Heart lead singer Ann Wilson, did make it intact to the ceremony. The Moody Blues have been going strong since 1964, and the Moody Blues key players who attended the ceremony were current members Justin Hayward (lead singer), John Lodge  and Graeme Edge (drums) and former members Denny Laine (guitar) and Mike Pinder (keyboards). The current members of Moody Blues then performed “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock in Roll Band,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” Nights in White Satin” and “Ride My See-Saw.”

Wilson and Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell later paid tribute to fellow Seattle musician Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in 2017. Cornell was the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. Wilson and Cantrell performed Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” in tribute to Cornell.

Nina Simone (who died in 2003 at the age of 70) was inducted by Mary J. Blige, who years ago had been planned to star in a biopic about Simone. Sam Waymon (Simone’s brother) accepted the honor on her behalf.) Lauryn Hill and Andra Day performed a musical tribute that included a medley of Simone songs including including “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” “I Put a Spell on You” and “Feeling Good.”

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard inducted Tharpe, who died of a stroke in 1973 at the age of 58. Howard, Questlove and Paul Shaffer performed Tharpe’s “That’s All” and were then joined by Felicia Collins  for Tharpe’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day.”

2017 Soul Beach Music Festival: Usher, Mary J. Blige, the Roots, Faith Evans, Cedric the Entertainer to perform

March 2, 2017
Soul Beach Music Festival

Usher,  Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, the Roots and Cedric the Entertainer will perform the 17th annual Soul Beach Music Festival, which will take place  in Aruba from May 24 to 29, 2017. The Roots have teamed up with Usher as his accompanying band, and performed several shows with him in 2016. Blige’s 14th studio album, “Strength of a Woman,” is due out sometime in 2017. In 2016, she co-headlined a tour with Maxwell. Evans was part of the Bad Boy Family reunion tour in 2016. The Roots also serve as the in-house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Usher’s eighth studio album, “Hard II Love,” was released in September 2016.

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