NCHS student performs at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Published 10:36 am, Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Daniel Klingenstein, 15, of New Canaan High School is one of the featured dancers in this year's 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Klingenstein will sing and dance in the opening and closing ceremonies of the parade alongside 140 of his fellow students from Stagedoor Manor, a school in the Catskills where youths go to hone their performance skills.
"It is the 85th annual, big celebration so it is exciting. We begin with the opening ceremony at star in front of Macy's then we are quickly, somehow, getting all the way uptown to join Santa at the end of the parade," Klingenstein said. "Then we escort Santa back to where we started for the closing ceremony."
Klingenstein, who has attended camp at Stagedoor for five years, has performed since he was 8 and also participated in the Macy's parade last year. Auditions are done at the summer camp every year and are open to anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those who perform best at the camp auditions are selected to participate.
"It's pretty cool. I did it last year with Stagedoor as well. It was my first time then," Klingenstein said. "It's a lot different because last time it was a complete group effort and this time it's 140 kids and there are 40 featured dancers and I'm a featured dancer. It's a bit more responsibility than last time."
Last year they were all dressed as elves and sang "We Need a Little Christmas" from the musical "Mame." The most difficult thing is how quickly it all goes, Klingenstein said.
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"It was crazy. It goes by so fast. You get there Monday to start rehearsing. Tuesday night you've got to do your blocking rehearsal at the star in front of Macy's, which is on national television and so difficult to get right," he explained.
However, being with Stagedoor Manor, he said doing productions this quickly has become commonplace.
"The craziest thing to me, but this is typical Stagedoor fashion, is being in camp for three weeks and putting on a show in 10 days. You put on a full-fledged production in 10 days. And these shows are pretty amazing shows," he said. "So to put people like this in a three-day thing, yeah it's hectic for them because they are not used to it, but it's really a group of people who know how to work that fast and know how to do it right that fast."
The biggest adjustment for Klingenstein, who is used to performing in front of an audience (he was just in this year's production of "Godspell" at New Canaan High School), is getting used to all the cameras.
"The weirdest thing about doing the parade is when you actually get to the star [in front of Macy's]. Because you're used to performing in front of an audience and then you get there and there's scaffolding everywhere and five cameras here and 10 cameras there and there's Al Roker up there saying something," he said. "It's just weird to perform to nothing almost. It's not something we're used to. There is a crowd behind you and to the sides but you have to perform straight out."
Having been part of Stagedoor Manor for such a long time, Klingenstein said his favorite part is neither the dancing or the performing, but seeing his friends.
"They are from all over the country and the world. There is someone flying in from Saudi Arabia and Switzerland," he said fondly. "So to see your friends again is the best part."