2011 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with Macy’s Amy Kule, Executive Producer
By: Judith Wallace
“Macy’s 35th annual fireworks display will once again dazzle millions of New Yorkers and a national television audience like never before, as a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors and jaw-dropping effects stretch for two miles across the Hudson River,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. “Building on 34 years of success, we will ignite the skies of New York City with the nation’s largest fireworks display celebrating Independence Day, as well as the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.”
As executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and 4th of July Fireworks, Amy Kule oversees all aspects of planning and production of these iconic events including design/construction, creative direction, logistics, operations, agency liaisons, and marketing partnerships.
The 35th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will fire more than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells during a 25-minute synchronized display. Designed in collaboration with SOUSA Fireworks, the show will be set off from six barges positioned on the Hudson River, stretching from 20th to 55th Streets. This wide spectrum covering two miles of sky, allows Macy’s Fireworks to produce dazzling effects which reach heights of 1,000 feet, providing magnificent views to more spectators from water’s edge to towering skyscrapers. With an average of 1,600 shells launched per minute, Macy’s Fireworks are sure to draw thunderous cheers from the gathered crowds.
Independence day revelers from coast-to-coast will also have a front row view of the pyro in the sky by tuning to NBC’s national broadcast of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular beginning at 9:00 PM (check local listings). In addition to the pyrotechnic splendor, the 4th of July’s most popular entertainment broadcast will feature a star-studded line-up of performances by the nation’s hottest recording artists.
Viewing information and other spectator tips will be available as of June 2011 at www.macys.com/fireworks or by calling the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Hotline at (212) 494-4495.
The fireworks spectacular will air Monday, July 4, live from New York City beginning 9:00 pm Eastern time on NBC.
How will the theme of Gift of Freedom be incorporated into the show?
Amy Kule: Well, the Gift of Freedom is certainly the freedom that we all experience every day in the United States and we’ve got an amazing, amazing sound track that’s going to go along with this Gift of Freedom that really is a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. We’ll be able to see the statue in all of our advertising for the show as well as in the show itself.
How do you generally spend your 4th of July?
Amy Kule: Working for Macy’s we have the distinct honor of always working on unique American holidays, certainly the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks is one of those. And having been with Macy’s for nearly 15 years I barely remember a day when I was enjoying it outside of being part of this magnificent fireworks display.
Who are some of the talents for this year’s show?
Amy Kule: Beyonce is performing two amazing songs and she’s going to be performing right at the Statue of Liberty, we believe. And Brad Paisley, another dynamic superstar is singing two incredible songs as well from a roof top with a magnificent view of the New York City skyline.
Why do you think it’s so important that something like the 4th of July is combined with music and art?
Amy Kule: Fireworks itself just lend themselves to the inclusion of music and when we produce the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks we’ve got a very talented, creative team that produces a special musical score that lasts the full 25 minutes of the fireworks. If you’re seeing it live in New York you could always tune in to 1010 WINS and have that soundtrack playing over your own loud speakers. And obviously for those tuning in on NBC they’ll be able to hear the soundtrack that’s been created specifically for this fireworks display simulcast with the fireworks.
Do you have any favorite fireworks display?
Amy Kule: We’ve got about 50 different shapes that are going to be in the skies on the 4th of July so I’m sure screamers are going to be part of it so Nick will be happy. It will be fun. We’ve got diamonds and hoops and hearts and jellyfish which may be one of my favorites because they shoot up and then kind of hold tight in the air before they disperse and come down in a cavalcade and seem to disperse slowly as they come through the sky. But there’s lots of unique shapes up there as well as the traditional ones of huge bursts that everybody expects to see.
What are some of the challenges in putting on a live show as this one?
Amy Kule: Nick has probably the single biggest challenge, because he is 100% live and has to roll with the punches of whatever mishaps could in fact happen with the things that we’ve been planning for a long time. So kudos to him to be able to handle those challenges. But the fireworks themselves are really computer programmed at this point. With any kind of computer program we all know the frustration with computers, there could always be some kind of mishap. But we’ve got the most amazing pyrotechnicians in the country working on this show and of course, the most amazing talent so there’s really very little in the way that could really trip us up. Except you never really know what kind of weather you’re going to deal with. You can’t control the weather, you can control the fireworks, you have great and professional talent working with you, but the unforeseen is the only thing you can’t control there.
What is the process that goes into planning and producing Macy’s 4th of July fireworks?
Amy Kule: Macy’s produces live events throughout the year. The 4th of July fireworks is probably the second biggest thing that we do. And we spend all year really thinking about how we can do it better than we did the year before. And there really comes a time that you can’t really surpass that. But you change it up, you look to develop different thematics. This year of course it’s our 35th anniversary of the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks and the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. And when you look at those things thematically sometimes the partnerships that you have to have in place and the way that you produce the show really lend themselves to these kinds of dynamic milestones that are being celebrated. Last year or two years ago for instance, we were on the Hudson River celebrating the anniversary of the naming of the Hudson and it was a very big deal for us there. So, we look at new creative elements, new musical talent that we could be working with. We worked with the New York Pops for the past several years and this year we’re actually working with pre-recorded popular show tunes, so we do change it up every year. But we know that America is watching and when we launch our 40,000 shells from the Hudson River that we’ve got big shoes to fill from the previous year and the expectations of the American public.