Review by Christine Thompson
“Parrot Heads” delighted as “Escape to Margaritaville” stopped in Houston October 21st-November 5th before moving on to Chicago. The limited run, pre-Broadway show wowed the audience at the Hobby Center, who were singing along, not at all distracted as the Astros were busy winning the World Series game 7 during the play. Big shout out to the Astros – a huge round of applause broke out for the team at intermission when fans checked their phones for news of the game – Houstonians can definitely multi-task while being entertained.
Jimmy Buffet’s hits plus new music he wrote for the play complemented and enhanced this original romantic comedy, with classics like “Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville” and “Changes In Latitudes Changes In Attitudes,” cleverly woven into the context of the story. Each familiar song was greeted with clapping and singing, especially the rendition of “Cheeseburger In Paradise.”
The cast included Houston talent Allison Luff, cast opposite Paul Nolan as the part-time bartender, part-time singer, and full-time charmer named Tully who thinks he’s got life all figured out. Luff plays the beautiful career-minded tourist that steals his heart and makes him question everything.
Don Sparks was a scene-stealer as J.D., the resident old-timer who is looking for his lost shaker of salt (SALT! SALT!) and ultimately does makes friends with Jesus, even though he sings “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I Don’t Love Jesus.” Enough spoilers. If you’re lucky enough to catch this show, it’s definitely a few hours you’ve not wasted away. It’s a good-hearted fun time, and the excellent cast was a blast to watch.
“Escape To Margaritaville” premieres on February 16th on Broadway at the Marquise Theater. For more information go to the official site http://escapetomargaritavillemusical.com
ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE includes brand new music, specifically written for the musical by Buffett, along with many of his hits songs that are near-and-dear tofans’ hearts. The original story is by co-book writers Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl”) and Mike O’Malley (“Survivor’s Remorse,” “Shameless”). Two-time Tony Award® nominee Christopher Ashley directs, and the creative team includes Tony®-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 and 101 Productions, Ltd. as General Management.