The hosts of the Today show are honoring Broadway! During Friday’s episode of the morning show, the co-anchors celebrated Halloween a day early by paying tribute to some of the greatest theatrical shows. The sweet homage comes as Broadway has been shut down since March due to COVID-19.
Carson Daly, wearing a classic tuxedo, acted as the host for the show, explaining why he and his colleagues thought Broadway was the perfect theme for this year’s costumes.
“This year we’ve seen the lights go down on Broadway, but that is about to change. The lights are going up and the curtain will rise on a one-of-a-kind show, in certainly a one-of-a-kind year,” he said. “Many of us have been feeling down these last few months, but music is an excellent source of comfort and it’s one of the few things that has been able to connect all of us, despite the distance… We are taking a moment to celebrate the stories, scores and songs that move us.”
Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer were up first, dressing as Velma and Roxie, respectively, as they performed a dance from Chicago. Prior to their performance, the women received advice from Rita Wilson, who starred as Roxie in Broadway’s Chicago revival.
Al Roker channeled King George III and Craig Melvin was Alexander Hamilton, as the pair lip-synced to songs including “You’ll Be Back,” “Alexander Hamilton,” and “My Shot” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, Hamilton.
“I was fortunate enough to be there for the premiere… a shiver went down my spine,” Roker recalled of seeing the show. “I chose King George because I do feel regal. I feel I was meant to rule.”
A very happy #halloween from @todayshow @3rdhourtoday
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Jenna Bush Hager opted to go the feline route for her costume, performing Cats‘ most iconic song, “Memories,” much to the delight of her daughters, Poppy, 5, and Mila, 7.
“Cats is a very special musical for me,” she said. “It was the first musical we took Mila to on Broadway. My kids did try to teach me how to get into character. They really worked on my meows. Poppy told me to hiss. She taught me how to hiss.”
“I did practice this song when I was taking vocal lessons in fourth grade… Fourth grade Jenna would not believe that I get to put on the real Cats leotard from the Broadway show,” Hager added. “To be one of the most famous cats of all time is something I’ll never forget.”
Look mom I’m on Broadway!!!!
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The grand finale was brought by Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, who dressed as Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked, and lip-synced to “Popular” and “Defying Gravity.”
“We chose Wicked. I love the idea that you think somebody is bad, but you have to look a little deeper and maybe you’ll see another side. Hoda’s my girl! I’m her Elphaba, she’s my Glinda,” Guthrie said. “I really wanted to be the Wicked Witch. I’m a little nervous about the green face. If I’m totally honest, I think my kids will be terrified.”
“I have never, ever been a princess-y, pretty Halloween costume kind of person,” Kotb admitted. “To be Glinda the Good Witch, is pretty amazing because you picture that dress on Broadway. You picture it spinning around. You picture Glinda walking through. You picture all of it.”
When it came time for Broadway’s original Elphaba to give Gurthie advice on her performance, Idina Menzel said the role is “really about learning to harness my own power as a woman and to not be afraid of my ferocity.”
We are celebrating the stories, scores and songs that move us. Welcome to TODAY’s Best of Broadway! #HalloweenTODAY 🎃 pic.twitter.com/QKV7XVVKkY
Following their performances, Guthrie and Kotb praised the Broadway community for their support of the Today show’s Halloween idea.
“Broadway has been so generous to us,” Guthrie said. “A lot of us are wearing the original costumes from the shows.”
“It really means a lot to us to be able to pay tribute to Broadway,” Kotb agreed. “That community, as we all know, has been really hit hard by the pandemic. Theaters may be closed, but when Broadway heard that we wanted to put on a show, people from all the different productions came out.”
“Man, they turned up. They opened up costume shops that were shut down. The competitors even came together to help out, so we just want to thank them for pulling this off for one morning,” Kotb added. “We couldn’t be more grateful for what they did for us.”
We danced. We sang. We even got encouragement from Broadway stars! Take a look behind the scenes of our #HalloweenTODAY extravaganza. pic.twitter.com/csTg6qyCIx
Meanwhile, over on Good Morning America, Michael Strahan, George Stephanopoulos and Cecilia Vega had kids dress up as them in honor of the holiday.
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