It has been a crazy week of writing and readjusting to the time zone, so escaping to the theater last night was just what this girl needed. It was opening night of Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville at the Dr. Phillips Center and I didn’t realize how much my brain needed this mental break. But, was the musical worth seeing? Was it everything I expected it to be? Is it worth calling this production a true Broadway musical?
I was invited as media to attend last night’s performance and provide an honest review. All opinions in this post are 100% mine and mine alone. This post may also contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Escape To Margaritaville at the Dr. Phillips Center
Jimmy Buffet’s Escape To Margaritaville takes the audience on vacation to a tropical island that turns out to not be as “four star” as its reviews reveal. It always seems to be “5 o’clock” there and it’s pretty much…forgive me…a “get drunk and screw” kind of vacation destination.
The story centers around a singer on the island who finds himself having unexpected strong feelings for a guest who comes to visit for two reasons: to celebrate her friend’s unfortunate upcoming nuptials and to collect dirt samples from around the island’s volcano for her potato project.
As if the description doesn’t say it well enough, the plot is very thin and very familiar. The entire story is quite predictable to be honest. The acting is mediocre at best and the singing was a mixed bag when it came to pitch and tonality. Don’t get me wrong! There were some great voices in there – tremendous range, some had some amazing strength and I did love the harmonies. However, there were just enough pitchy moments and weak spots to make it feel more like a local production rather than a Broadway musical.
Now, despite saying all that…
I actually enjoyed the nonsense. Why? Because, very much like the female lead in the show, I needed a break from the crazy schedule I have been keeping (mind you, I am enjoying what I’m doing…I just needed to find some time for “self care.). The songs, while corny, were light-hearted and the comedic one liners actually did make me laugh out loud.
My particular favorites were the roles played by Peter Michael Jordan (Brick) and Shelly Lynn Walsh (Tammy). They were spot on in their delivery of puns and they seemed to connect very well with the audience and with each other on stage.
To the contrary, when it came to the leads (Chris Clark, Sarah Hinrichsen), I just felt their performances fell a little flat last night. Neither of them gave me the impression they were completely connected to their roles ~ in my honest opinion.
The story in general…
The musical is based off the book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley and features music and lyrics by the legendary Jimmy Buffet. It premiered on Broadway only a short time ago, February 2018, and closed after 124 performances. It just began its national tour in September of 2019. The reviews have not been extremely favorable and I think I can understand why.
It truly is just a feel good kind of story that is ultimately about drinking, escaping reality and finding someone with whom to enjoy life. There is no depth to the plot and it really has no true draw. It does have its comedic element that is entertaining and, yes, I did find myself laughing, but this production is certainly not in line for any prestigious honors.
Would I recommend?
I would not recommend this for anyone sixteen or under, though that’s my call as a parent. Teens these days are exposed to a lot more than what we saw on that stage, but the suggestions are not something to which I want to expose my child if I have a choice. For adults, I would recommend it if you are looking for a show that is meant to simply let you sit back, relax, laugh and almost leave with the feeling of wondering where you just went for the last few hours.
Escape to Margaritaville is currently on tour. If you’re looking to escape reality for a short time and laugh a little, then check to see if the tour is headed your way: Escape to Margaritaville tour dates.
The production has its entertaining qualities and moments, but lacks the magnetism I have come to expect out of a Broadway musical. It’s not a show to avoid, but not one I would cancel any plans to see. It’s perfect for those looking for something to do on an evening where you feel the need to escape reality, but can’t jump on a plane.
Hmmm….anyone else craving a cheeseburger?
A Dr. Phillips Center “Did You Know?”
Did you know that you could take a tour the Dr. Phillips Center? The venue offers public tours on the fourth Friday of each month at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., each tour running approximately 60 to 90 minutes in length.
A reservation is required for this tour and can be made by filling out a form on this page of their site: Tour Reservation. You can also find more information about the tour on this page, including wait lists, where to meet and what the tour entails.
The Dr. Phillips Center is a spectacular venue, featuring some of the best international, national and local artists. The building itself is jaw-dropping and has so many stories to tell. I toured the facility earlier this year and would do it again in a heartbeat. It provided me the opportunity to get the behind the scenes look at how the venue is run, how productions are staged and more. Consider booking a public tour today!
Looking for more of my Broadway musical reviews? Check these out!
- Hello, Dolly!
- Fiddler on the Roof
- The Lion King
- Dear Evan Hansen
- Les Miserables
- Come From Away
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