Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville opening night in Orlando

The national tour of Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville opened in Orlando, latitude 28.5383° N, 81.3792° W, on Tuesday night with the full intention of being the place where people come to get away from it all.

Scheduled to play in 35 cities in the coming months, Escape to Margaritaville is billed as an hilarious and heartwarming musical with the most unforgettable songs from one of music’s greatest storytellers. For its 2018 Broadway debut, the production received generally negative reviews and it’s not really hard to understand why.

The show, featuring a book by Emmy winner Greg Garcia and Emmy nominee Mike O’Malley, features both original songs and the most-loved Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville”” as well as many others but it simply never takes off.

Perhaps, if you enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two… or three or four, and you don’t go with too much expectation, the show will tickle your taste buds. Sadly, it misses a beat as the cast attempts to make something of the story-line that is weak and feeble.

The first act is essentially the classic boy meets girl, boy tries to impress girl, girl rejects boy fodder. In it we get to meet Tully Mars (Chris Clark) who works as a singer for the bar at Margaritaville, a run down hotel on a small island in the Caribbean, along with Brick (Peter Michael Jordan), the bartender, Jamal (Matthew James Sherrod), the busboy, Marley (Rachel Lyn Fobbs), the owner, and J.D. (Patrick Cogan), a one eyed beach bum who spends his days at the bar.

Tully regularly has one week affairs with female guests with no intention of continuing the fling beyond their time at the hotel but then Rachel (Sarah Hinrichsen) and Tammy (Shelly Lynn Walsh) turn up and Tully becomes smitten. Tammy is preparing to get married and Margaritaville is the chosen destination for a last singles vacation as Rachel is determined to show Tammy a better life than with her no-good fiancé, Chadd (Noah Bridgestock.)

Inevitably, Tammy starts to fall for Brick while Rachel wrestles with her emotions about Tully before finding herself charmed by him. Fortunately, a dormant volcano then decides to spring life into the production and before we know it, we’re in Act Two where everyone is in a rush to escape the stricken island.

Unfortunately, what then transpires is a mismatch as we jump hurriedly from scene to scene ending up with Tammy dumping Chadd and marrying Brick and Rachel and Tully also getting married in a happy ever after ending.

Need a change in latitude? Maybe a change in attitude? You may well after watching this.

Escape to Margaritaville

  • Length: 2 hours 10 minutes, including intermission
  • Where: Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. in Orlando
  • When: Through 17th November
  • Cost: $49.50 and up
  • Info: drphillipscenter.org or 844-513-2014


One Response to Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville opening night in Orlando

  1. Excellent review and on target. Great songs alone do not a show make. This was the poorest offering I have seen at this venue. In spite of a small lift in Act two, Margaritaville, was very disappointing.

    It was a mismatch from the start, Millenials vs A Pirate Turns 50. I’m sure Mr. Buffet will rethink where he sells his name, music or brand in the future. This was a disservice to both fans and theater-goers alike.

    PARROTHEADS Beware – –

    August Byllott
    November 13, 2019 at 11:41 am

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