CBS has announced Broadway performances for its upcoming broadcast of the 2023 Thanksgiving Day Parade. Hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier and E! News’ chief correspondent, Keltie Knight, the parade will air on CBS and stream via Paramount+ from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 23.
The coverage, which is separate from NBC’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, will also include prerecorded Broadway performances from “Chicago,” “A Beautiful Noise” and “Aladdin.”
The “Chicago” number will feature Kimberly Marable, who currently stars on Broadway as Velma Kelly, and reporter Knight in a special appearance as Roxie Hart. The two will perform “Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag.”
“I [feel like] I am Roxie Hart, and so all of these photos, this is my dream,” who spoke to Broadway News outside the Ambassador Theatre at a plaque dedication ceremony celebrating the 27th anniversary of “Chicago” on Broadway. Knight grew up performing at a young age, participating in dance competitions and appearing in high school productions of “Crazy for You,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Sweeney Todd” in her native northern Canada. At 18, she moved to New York City with dreams of booking Broadway.
Though she never bowed on the Main Stem, Knight danced as a member of the Radio City Rockettes for six years before her television career took off.
Showcasing Broadway as part of her hosting duties with the annual Thanksgiving Day parade is a highlight for Knight. “To be honest, hosting the CBS's coverage of the parade every single year for the last nine years has meant so much to me because we do promote Broadway,” she said. “We always have Broadway shows — the complete casts, showcasing what they do eight nights a week here in New York City out to the world, who may never get a chance to come see a Broadway show. And I think it's just so special what we’ve done.”
And every year, Knight has asked the director of the CBS broadcast, Glenn Weiss (who has produced and directed the annual Tony Awards multiple times), to connect her with “Chicago” producer Barry Weissler. “I literally sang ‘Roxie’ in a full thing on film and sent it to [Glenn] last year and was like, ‘Please Glenn, send this to Barry right now.’”
It worked. Knight will get to be Roxie for one song on Thanksgiving. To prepare, Knight spent two hours in the studio with dance captain David Bushman to learn the choreography, quickly learned the song (“in the right key,” she said) from conductor and music director Rob Bowman and rehearsed with co-star Marable onstage for 30 minutes. Still, Knight would say yes to more. “It's the final process of auditioning [for Broadway],” she said with a laugh. “I already know one of the numbers.”
“No one can possibly understand what it means to me to even be inside these walls, to be hugging these people and to have danced with these people and sang,” she continued.” It's a dream come true, a childhood dream.
CBS’ airing of the Thanksgiving Day Parade will be produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss and directed by Weiss.