'Plenty To Be Thankful For': Broadway Stars Share Their Traditions and Treasured Memories | Playbill

Holiday Coverage 'Plenty To Be Thankful For': Broadway Stars Share Their Traditions and Treasured Memories

From sharing embarrassing stories to eating soul food, Victoria Clark, Jeremy Pope, Krysta Rodriguez, and more tell us their non-traditional Thanksgiving traditions.

Happy Thanksgiving from Playbill! We gathered some of Broadway's best and brightest to share the Thanksgiving traditions they're grateful for. Whether it's spending time with family, cooking a good meal (or buying one), or having a dance party, for these actors, there's always a place to find a little gratitude. 

Sit back, grab a glass of apple cider, and reflect with the theatrical community below.

Victoria Clark Bjorn Bolinder

Victoria Clark
"Thanksgiving is my favorite of all the holidays mainly because of the opportunity to eat as much pie as possible. I really don’t care about the rest of the meal!! My mother was a phenomenal baker but she handed off the sacred pie duties to me when I was a teenager. My specialties are chocolate pecan (or walnut), blueberry with pastry leaf cut-outs on the crust, the occasional pumpkin tofu custard pie, and apple crumble. Mom also had a crumbly delicious crust recipe which you make directly in the pie plate, so I use that of course which has kind of a shortbread texture. Baking every year brings her back into the kitchen and fills us with grateful memories!" 

Anika Larsen at opening night of Almost Famous Heather Gershonowitz

Anika Larsen
"I think a lovely tradition across theatre is the amount of Friendsgivings that take place, since theatre people work through the holidays and so many are far from home. As the Almost Mom of Almost Famous, I will be welcoming a bunch of cast members who are away from their families into my home to spend Thanksgiving with me and my family. We've created a text chain for planning purposes and it’s named Thankful AF." 

Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Angie Schworer, and Christopher Sieber

Beth Leavel
“One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was the year The Prom performed! It was minus 13 degrees and we went out and did our number! I couldn’t feel my left foot but I didn’t care! I loved/love this family so much...and then was able to go home and be with my family and warm up and celebrate all that I’m thankful for!” 

Jennifer Simard

Jennifer Simard
"My favorite Thanksgiving memories are the snafu’s that occurred when I performed on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with both Shrek and Sister Act. For Sister Act, our dress rehearsal took place in freezing, driving, sideways rain. Someone caught a video and it’s damn near the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. With Shrek, after our televised number, we loaded onto the bus but our bus broke down. It was heaven to see the three little pigs and a giant green ogre hailing and getting into yellow taxi cabs. Happy Thanksgiving!" 

Casey Likes at opening night of Almost Famous Heather Gershonowitz

Casey Likes
"Growing up, I always made the stuffing with my Grandma's help. It is still to this day the only thing that I can make that's worth writing home about. Thanks, Grandma." 

Talia Suskauer in Wicked Joan Marcus

Talia Suskauer
"Since I was a kid, Thanksgiving morning for me consisted of sleeping in, and eventually making our way downstairs for breakfast, where my parents had the Thanksgiving Day Parade on pause on the TV. We’d fast forward through all of the commercials to each of the Broadway show performances, and after that, we'd watch the Dog Show. So grateful to have my parents flying up to the city this year so that we can keep that tradition alive!"

Michael Wartella

Michael Wartella
“I think for me, probably like so many Broadway artists, I remembered watching the parade every year and marveling at the Broadway performances. When I was a kid I used to dance all around my living room (no, the Chorus Line reference is not lost on me….) and dream about being a part of it all someday. I’ve still have not performed on the parade myself yet, but I’m sure it’s coming, and when it does, so will the tears I’m sure. This Thanksgiving I’m thankful to be part of such a wonderful community and to get to live out my dream job.”

James D. Gish

James D. Gish
"Thanksgiving means fifteen to twenty guests pouring into the Gish house. Spiked cider is a staple, usually followed by large (competitive) games of poker and basketball in the backyard. Our dogs usually handled the ball better than I did. Post-feast, the youngest family members crack that Y-shaped “wish-bone” from the turkey, and the one with the larger piece makes a wish. Someone inevitably puts on the soundtrack to The Big Chill, which I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen, and everyone dances to the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey at the end of the night." 

Alli Mauzey Heather Gershonowitz

Alli Mauzey
"Quiche! My Mom always makes a quiche and we’d eat it while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also, I grew up in Southern California and Thanksgiving was right around the time the Santa Ana winds would kick up. So often times, if I’m ever somewhere where there’s a warm and very strong wind, it brings me back to my childhood in Southern CA on Thanksgiving with my family in the best way."

Melanie La Barrie at opening night of & Juliet Michaelah Reynolds

Melanie La Barrie
"This is my very first Thanksgiving! But I'm truly looking forward to creating traditions from now on. This year, our musical supervisor, Bill Sherman, is rescuing me and inviting me over to feast and celebrate and no doubt playfully argue about which Muppet tops the rankings as all-time most beloved. I shall enjoy making these beautiful memories."

Justin David Sullivan at opening night of & Juliet Michaelah Reynolds

Justin David Sullivan
"Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday and my favorite Thanksgiving tradition comes from my partner Stephen (Cashmere)’s side, which is leftover pie: You buy some ready to bake pie crusts and instead of busting out the mountain of Tupperware, you fill pie tins with all of your Thanksgiving leftovers and pop it back in the oven to make the ultimate, most delicious reinvention of your favorite Thanksgiving foods in perfect pie form—hashtag gobble gobble."

Jamie deRoy Terry Gruber

Jamie deRoy
"Thanksgiving has always been one of my most favorite days. It holds very special fond memories and an enduring place in my heart because it helped to shape my outlook about life. Indeed, it helped to influence my career and love for the theatre. Beginning as a little girl, I would help my mother prepare an array of tasty dishes and treats. Gathering around the table was a magical experience. The array of colors and aromas became the setting for our annual family get-togethers. As I reflect upon my precious memories, I realize that Thanksgiving was actually our version of a true family classic. It is clear that my love of storytelling and Broadway was formed and firmly rooted in my own holiday experiences."

Stephen Carlile

Stephen Carlile
"Being British, I never used to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’ve been living in the States for five years and now have a 1-year-old daughter who is an American citizen, so I’m enjoying developing traditions for her. So far our favorite thing is eating the best desserts from our neighborhood spot, The Little Pie Company in Hell’s Kitchen."

E. Clayton Cornelious

E. Clayton Cornelious
"My Birthday is the 26th of November! I am always grateful to celebrate my Bday on or around Thanksgiving!! Another year around the sun and another year with my family!"

Rita Moreno Austin Hargrave

Rita Moreno
“Eat lots of Turkey!”

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