After beginning in La Jolla, California, and taking a pre-Broadway tour to Houston, New Orleans, and Chicago, the Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville landed on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre. Playbill met the cast and creative team at the post-show celebration at Pier Sixty in Manhattan to talk about the changes made leading up to Broadway, puzzle-piecing a fresh plot around the catalog of Buffett tunes, and wastin’ away in Margaritaville each night.
Set at the Margaritaville hotel, the story follows Tully (Paul Alexander Nolan), a bar singer at the hotel whose trysts with eager vacationers last one week until he meets Rachel (Alison Luff), who comes down to the hotel on a bachelorette week with her best friend Tammy (Lisa Howard).
Star Paul Alexander Nolan credited the writers with making a new musical that makes audiences realize “how deep Jimmy Buffett music is,” he said. “[The writers] knew they had to create a show with integrity that when we came into New York and people with critical eyes that don’t care about Jimmy Buffett... you look at this music in a different way.”
Emmy nominee Mike O'Malley joined the broadcast to talk about co-writing the book of the new musical. “We’ve been working on this for four-and-a-half years there have been a lot of different versions,” he said. But one of the components of his book is a strong female lead, an environmental scientist with aspirations to change the world.
“She's a fierce, badass, phenomenal woman. I have a fierce, badass phenomenal wife. And a fierce, badass, phenomenal mom, and fierce, badass, phenomenal aunts and fierce, badass phenomenal women friends,” he said. “All you gotta do is listen to the great women in your life and you maybe have a little chance to write a great woman onstage.”
“One of the great things about Greg and Mike is they are endlessly inventive,” said director Christopher Ashley from the carpet. “They're so fearless about let's give it a try and they love making fun of musicals and there are times when I have to bring my love of the musical.”
He and choreographer Kelly Devine have teamed up once more—after their success with last year’s Come From Away. (Ashley won the Tony for his direction and Devine was nominated for her choreography.)
And the cast is certainly having a blast. Playbill also spoke with cast members Andre Ward, Rema Webb, Lisa Howard, Eric Petersen, Paul Alexander Nolan, Alison Luff, and more. Watch the full livestream above.
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