Review Roundup: Broadway-Bound ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE at La Jolla Playhouse
Escape to Margaritaville includes brand new music, specifically written for the musical by Jimmy Buffett, along with many of his hit songs that are near-and-dear to fans' hearts. The original story was created by co-book writers Greg Garcia ("My Name is Earl") and Mike O'Malley ("Survivor's Remorse," "Shameless"). Playhouse Artistic Director and three-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Ashley directs, and the creative team also includes Tony Award-nominated Choreographer Kelly Devine, Scenic Designer Walt Spangler, Tony Award-winning Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, two-time Tony Award-winning Lighting Designer Howell Binkley, two-time Tony Award-winning Sound Designer Brian Ronan, Tony Award-nominee Christopher Jahnke as Music Supervisor.
Imagine a place where the sun is hot, the ocean's warm, and the drinks are as cold as they are plentiful. Welcome to Margaritaville, the island paradise where city folk get away from it all and the locals get into the kind of trouble you can almost always sweet talk your way out of. Escape to Margaritaville is 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.
Following the La Jolla Playhouse run, the show will play New Orleans' Saenger Theatre, Houston's Hobby Center, and make a stop at Chicago's Oriental Theatre in November 2017 before sailing into Broadway in the spring of 2018. Visit EscapeToMargaritavilleMusical.com for more information.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
San Diego Tribune (James Herbert): Some songs here do feel a little forced (the contrivances required to shoehorn Buffett's funny "Grapefruit - Juicy Fruit" into the story are one example). Others, though, manage to work to goofy perfection, including "Volcano," which introduces a helpful and highly literal plot twist. And even in the bumpier moments, Garcia and O'Malley's sly wit and their disarming way of winking at musical-theater convention help the whole thing go down.
UCSD Guardian (Chloe Esser): "Escape to Margaritaville" is a fun ride with a variety of hilarious characters, catchy songs and compelling storylines. It begs the question: Does vacation ever truly have to end? Is it possible to live a fulfilling life away from the stresses of the rest of the world, in that blissful state of in-between, or is a return to the rat race always an inevitability? This is only vaguely answered; ultimately, the ending seems to rush through its final pieces of development in a montage-like number that feels more like it should be an act of its own. "Escape to Margaritaville" chooses to focus on the overall feel-good vibe of the story in the end rather than delving into some of the bigger questions raised. But hey, that's what vacation is for.
SD Gay and Lesbian News (Jean Lowerison): Evidence that the public wants and/or needs a little positive change right now? The show was extended twice before it opened last week. It now runs through July 9, with Christopher Ashley directing. The show will tour a bit (to New Orleans, Houston and Chicago) before its Broadway opening.
Check back for more reviews as they come in!