Escape to Margaritaville, the new musical featuring the hit songs of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, officially opens at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway March 15. Previews begin February 16.
With a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl, Raising Hope) and Emmy Award nominee Mike O’Malley, the musical tells the story of a part-time bartender, part-time singer and full-time charmer named Tully who thinks he’s got life all figured out until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.
The cast and creative team stepped out to the Renaissance Times Square on their first day of Broadway rehearsals to give fans a taste of what’s in store from the new Jimmy Buffett musical.
Margaritaville stars Paul Alexander Nolan and Allison Luff kicked the night off with a performance of “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” as well as “It’s My Job,” a solo for Luff’s character. Ashley and Devine, along with cast members Nolan, Luff, and André Ward joined Playbill Editor in Chief Mark Peikert to share their experiences with taking Escape to Margaritaville on tour prior to arriving in New York.
The musicale played La Jolla, Houston, New Orleans, and Chicago, and Ashley revealed that one of the most fascinating things to watch was how Jimmy Buffett fans and theatergoing fans interacted in each of those cities, and how the taught each other to watch the show. Devine added that Buffett’s score has a “sense of freedom, reflection, and joy,” that she felt audiences will be drawn to.
“There’s a great back and forth with the audience at the start of the show, and you can’t help but get caught up in that joy,” Ward said. Ashley also spoke about the range in Buffett's music, stating that “He has such a broad palette. He can make you want to dance and celebrate, but there’s a real sadness in some of the songs. It has the most intense ballads and the most celebratory uptempos. He has a huge range. Sometimes it feels like a classic.”
The evening closed with two more numbers, including a solo for Ward: the popular Buffett classic “Volcano,” as well as “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” which has been arranged as a final duet for Nolan and Luff’s characters.
Watch the live-stream below:
Paul Alexander Nolan (Bright Star), who originated the role of Tully in the musical's world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse last summer, reprises his role on Broadway. He leads a cast that also includes Alison Luff (Les Misérables) as Rachel, Lisa Howard (It Shoulda Been You) as Tammy, Eric Petersen (School of Rock) as Brick, Rema Webb (The Color Purple) as Marley, Don Sparks (Take Me Out) as J.D., and Andre Ward (Something Rotten!) as Jamal.