Okee dokee folks… “Wastin’ away AGAIN in (the audience of, Escape to) Margaritaville.” That is a phrase that I hope to never utter. Unfortunately I cannot say that I did not waste away in the audience of Escape to Margaritaville once already. The other night I was in attendance for Jimmy Buffet’s musical, Escape to Margaritaville at PPAC. This is one of those rare times I wished that I drank alcohol. Had I had a few, maybe a dozen, margaritas (there was a pop-up stand in the lobby selling them), I might have actually enjoyed the show. When I review a show I generally like to let the review simmer in my head a bit before I commit it to type in order to let the performance properly marinate. I did that and my opinion of the show got worse. Before I begin I just want to note that I am not a “Parrothead,” but I do enjoy the music of Jimmy Buffet, so when I first learned of the show I thought it was something that I would actually like. Wrong! If you want a brief synopsis of the production then imagine this: Jimmy Buffet songs; a so-so story by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley that included a wedding, a volcano eruption, a scientific discovery, hallucinations, a treasure chest, a one eyed pilot, weather reporters in the snow, a chance record deal with super stardom, and three love connections; a typical Broadway musical framework, random dance numbers, bad puns, poor casting, generic singing, lemon juice, lime juice, ice, and salt all mixed in a blender to render Escape to Margaritaville and then dumped onstage. Yes, I left out the tequila. If it had tequila it might have worked. If you were there and are an actual “Parrothead” I would be curious to learn what you thought of the musical, and how many drinks that you had. I did see ONE person with a parrot on his head but did not catch him for an opinion. The older gentleman in front of me gave me his. He said, “The island folks should have had spray tans.” Yes, I agreed, the cast did not look like they had ever been in the sun. He could tell I was not enjoying the show and told me that I should try to put a positive spin on my review. So I let it simmer. Nope. Can’t do it. The main character, Tully Mars, a bar singer played by Chris Clark, must have been cast primarily for his “pretty boy” looks. His voice was adequate but it did not work at all for Buffet’s songs. He did not look like or sound like a person who lived on an island and played music in a Tiki bar. Sarah Hinrichsen, who had the role of Tully’s love interest, Rachel, was adequate though not entirely convincing in her part as a scientist on vacation with her friend. The only two characters that seemed to work in this show were the main’s besties, Brick and Tammy. Brick (played by Pete Michael Jordan) being Tully’s and Tammy (played by Shelly Lynn Walsh) was Rachel’s. Rachel and Tammy were on a girl’s island getaway in advance of Tammy’s upcoming nuptials. They encounter Brick and Tully and the fuse it lit for love. The overly chatty dialogue was fraught with bad Margaritaville lyric references and puns. The story was too involved for a musical of this nature. Had the story been more clever and the music better it MAY have worked. The renditions of Jimmy Buffet’s songs were less than memorable — sometimes they sang snippets, some they slowed down, and some had lyric changes to fit the plot. Broadway and Buffet mixes about as well as oil and water. Next time, Escape FROM Margaritaville!
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com