10 Most Iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Performances!

Thanksgiving is here which means it’s time for the 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Here are just a few of the most popular performances over the years! 

The performances from the day parade are always exciting as many celebrities sing on the floats and Broadway performances take place. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving performances!


Wicked opened on Broadway in 2003 and the original cast got to perform in the parade that same year. The cast performed the song “One Short Day” with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as Elphaba and Galinda, two best friends on a journey to meet the Wizard of Oz.

Gwen Stefani

In 2017, Gwen Stefani performed in Bryant Park as opposed to on a float which is where she sang “White Christmas” from her holiday album You Make It Feel Like Christmas. She wore a silver fringed dress and white satin gloves while the horn section roared through the park and ice skaters glided to the music.


Cabaret is an award-winning musical that premiered on Broadway in 1966 and the revival premiered in 1987 with Joel Grey reprising his role as the Emcee. Grey got to perform his character’s most famous song “Wilkommen” then the “Gorilla Song” in the 1987 Parade.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross is a great talent who rose to fame with the group, “The Supremes,” Motown’s most successful act in the 1960s. She performed in the 1979 parade and belted out the song, “The Boss.” Many said she put on a Broadway performance and you could see people dancing behind while she sang!

Mary Poppins

This 2007 performance of the musical, Mary Poppins is one to remember! The cast performed the song, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” which is the longest one-word title in the history of music. The cast even spelled out each letter with their hands, which was a surprise!


The cast of the Broadway musical, Cats performed the song, “Memory” performed by Betty Buckley who played the first Grizbella in the show, at the 1983 parade. It’s one of the most well-known songs from this musical and she will always be remembered as singing it the “best” even after all these years.

The Prom

In 2018, history was made for broadcasting the parade’s first LGTBQ kiss during a musical performance. The cast of Prom closed out their number with a shared kiss on live television with the female leads, Caitlin Kinnuen and Isabella McCalla!

The Muppets

The Muppets have been around since the 1950s and are beloved by all. They have performed at the parade since 1974 and have done it every year since. All the performances are enjoyable for everyone to see, especially when they perform with celebrities like Leslie Odom Jr in 2017.

Mariah Carey

This is definitely an iconic performance and it was just last year, 2022! Mariah Carey closed out the parade by singing her holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, just before Santa Claus’ sleigh arrived. The performance was very talked about, since many noticed she was wearing a crown (“Queen of Christmas”), and her kids were even included by dancing alongside her.

Radio City Rockettes

Every year the performance by the Radio City Rockettes, known for doing their high kicks and kickline, is highly anticipated. The Rockettes have performed at the parade since 1958 and are always the last pre-parade act to perform!

Be sure to watch the iconic Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade this Thanksgiving to catch what other iconic performances will happen!

About the Author

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Jolee Levitin

Jolee Levitin is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying journalism and minoring in the media and entertainment industries. She is an intern with AfterBuzz TV and the Heal Squad. She loves anything Disney-related, binge-watching new TV shows, and going to see the newest Broadway shows in New York City.