Already looking like a hit with Broadway theatergoers, newcomer On Your Feet! — the biotuner about the courtship and rise to superstardom of the Miami Sound Machine’s Gloria and Emilio Estefan — got a priceless plug Thursday morning, leading off NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Led by star-in-the-making Ana Villafañe as Gloria singing “Conga” and “Turn The Beat Around,” the show got the kind of exposure no 30-second spot could bring. The Today show’s T-Day coverage of the iconic parade provides Broadway with an unbeatable platform, reaching far more viewers than the Tony Awards — especially among the family audiences that are now driving many of Broadway’s biggest hits, from Something Rotten!, Finding Neverland (both also featured in today’s march to Macy’s) and The Lion King to The King And I, which followed On Your Feet! on the parade lineup. Crowds lining Central Park West seemed defiant, if not oblivious of the threats of violence by ISIS, following assurances by New York’s mayor and police commissioner and President Obama that there was no credible threat and urging New Yorkers to celebrate the day as usual — which for many means crowding the parade route 20 deep to cheer on the big balloons and their human escorts. The big nod to On Your Feet! had the double wallop of underscoring the importance of both Broadway and the mainstreaming Latino market-slash-audience.
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