NEW YORK (AP) — Songs from the new musical celebrating Gloria and Emilio Estefan will have the honor of kicking off the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but the couple will be far from the giant balloons.
They'll be in Florida, handing out a feast to the homeless at one of their restaurants when the cast of "On Your Feet!" performs a medley of songs from their Broadway hit show.
"That's my favorite event of the year. Emilio and I feel very honored to give back. We're blessed, what can I tell you?" Gloria Estefan said Wednesday. "We'll definitely be watching on TV."
The meal will cap a frenzied few days for the couple that includes a taping of "The View," which airs Friday, an appearance on Wednesday's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and two visits to the White House — one to tape the special "'Broadway at The White House" airing Thursday and another to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday.
They give "On Your Feet!" new meaning.
"Things just came together. The timing was impeccable," Estefan said, a few hours before boarding a plane. "When you live long enough, you know that these moments don't come around often so we are definitely enjoying it."
Other Broadway shows to be featured during the parade's first hour will be "Fiddler on the Roof," ''Finding Neverland," ''The King and I" and "Something Rotten!"
Cast members of the show based on the film "School of Rock" will also appear on their own float, and there will be a performance by the cast of NBC's "The Wiz Live!" (CBS will have performances from "Jersey Boys" and "Beautiful: the Carole King Musical.")
The exposure is priceless for the stage shows since last year's parade broadcast reached about 23 million viewers on NBC. By comparison, the 2015 Tony Awards drew 6.7 million.
To open the NBC show, "On Your Feet!" star Ana Villafane will start a conga line in Manhattan as her cast members perform Estefan hits and dance to re-choreographed steps. But Gloria and Emilio will be in Hollywood, Florida, at their Bongos Cuban Cafe.
Gloria Estefan said the musical, which champions her and her husband's immigrant experiences, boasts the largest Hispanic cast in the history of Broadway and offers a counter view to some anti-immigrant populists by showing the huge contributions newcomers make. She said she thought of them while getting her medal from President Barack Obama.
"I thought a lot about my dad, who brought us here to this country for freedom, to have us grow up in freedom. I know that he was watching over me there," she said. "It was so extra special to receive it with my hubby, my partner of a lifetime."
Follow Mark Kennedy at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mark-kennedy