Escape to Margaritaville opens on Broadway Spring 2018

From Variety: “Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ Musical Sets Broadway Theater, Dates”

“Escape to Margaritaville,” the Jimmy Buffett musical currently running at the La Jolla Playhouse in California, will escape to Broadway next year, landing at the Marquis Theater in spring 2018 after stints in New Orleans, Houston and Chicago this fall.

Christopher Ashley, whose is currently nominated for a Tony for his staging of sleeper success “Come From Away,” directs the show, which has claimed the Marquis now that Gloria Estefan musical “On Your Feet!” has posted its closing notice. Ashley is artistic director at La Jolla; “Come From Away” also played the theater prior to Broadway.

Frank Marshall, Mindy Rich, Anita Waxman and Beth Williams produce “Margaritaville,” which aims to get Buffett’s enthusiastic fans, known as Parrot Heads, to the box office. The score is drawn from Buffett’s catalog of tunes, which includes “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Volcano” and “Come Monday.”

“My Name is Earl” creator Greg Garcia and actor-writer Mike O’Malley (“Glee”) write the book, which follows a bartender named Tully who falls for a career-minded tourist. No casting for the Broadway production has been set, but the La Jolla cast is led by Paul Alexander Nolan and Alison Luff.

“Escape to Margaritaville” will begin previews Feb. 16, 2018 ahead of a March 15, 2018 opening.

Buffett talks about “Escape to Margaritaville”

Jimmy Buffett was at the La Jolla playhouse for the opening of “Escape to Margaritaville” recently. The San Diego Union Tribune has an interview with Buffett: “Escape to Margaritaville goes down easy at La Jolla Playhouse

Margaritaville is both a place and state of mind. Word is that it’s also — and we’re working to confirm this now — the title of a popular song.

Seriously, though, it seems a genius move of theatrical jujitsu to name a new musical “Escape to Margaritaville,” when there has been no escaping from Jimmy Buffett’s boozy tune “Margaritaville” for the past 40 years.

You will not be surprised to learn there’s a good-time, party vibe to it all. No one expected this show to be “Les Miz” in flip-flops (much less Chekhov by the beach), but it’s still worth noting how “Escape to Margaritaville” delivers just about every bit of what the phrase “Jimmy Buffett musical” promises, from the splashy colors to the steel-drum beats to the palm-fronded beach bar slinging fruity cocktails.

Buffett talks about “Escape to Margaritaville”

From the San Diego Union Tribune: “For Jimmy Buffett, it’s back to Margaritaville — this time in La Jolla

The La Jolla Playhouse world premiere of “Escape to Margaritaville” brings Buffett back to that love for musical theater. And his legions of fans (dubbed “Parrotheads”) will be glad to know the Broadway-aimed show is built around many of the tirelessly touring singer-songwriter’s best-loved songs.

“Oh, the 12 we play or get killed?” Buffett says with a laugh, when asked about the roster of tunes that are more or less guaranteed to be heard at one of his shows. Most will likewise find their way into “Escape to Margaritaville,” which will include a few new compositions as well.

“I didn’t want to come in here with a whole batch of songs nobody’s ever heard,” he says. “These are great songs that have stood the test of time.”

Buffett does allow that, in partnership with director Christopher Ashley (the Playhouse’s artistic chief) and writers Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, “we’ve changed certain things. So for example, ‘Changes in Latitudes’ and ‘Son of a Son of a Sailor,’ these are real people’s stories that the writers (have created). ‘Son of a Son of a Sailor’ is very first-person for (the main character), not a third-person song.

“They’ve been just slightly changed enough to move the story. And I love it, I really do. And I think people who are hard-core fans of mine, the Parrotheads, are going to love that fact too, and somebody who’s never seen (me) — you never know what the public’s going to buy, but I think we’ve got a pretty good shot at giving people a very fun time in the theater.

“And believe me, all you gotta do is look around at the world today. We need a few laughs, I think more than ever.”

Tully’s adventures in “Escape to Margaritaville” draw on the vivid stories that have run through many of Buffett’s country-meets-Caribbean songs over the years.

But just to be clear: Tully isn’t Jimmy. Not exactly.

“People would ask, is this about you?,” Buffett says. “And I’d go, well, every song I write is a little bit about me. But it was never the intention of just being a character based on Jimmy Buffett.”

Instead, he says, Tully is a kind of ode to the scrappy musician strumming his six-string on the front porch swing (as the song has it), or in some beachfront bar.

“I’m glad if I had anything to do with the fact solo guitar players around the world can play my songs and get a job,” Buffett says. “I’m happy that happened.

“And that’s to me what the character really is — he’s kind of the everyman of solo guitar players. And believe me, that was the stage of my life when I lived in Key West and sang in a bar like that.

“It’s more about Jimmy in 1970 in Key West — that’s what Tully is based on more than anything. I was one of probably 20 guys playing on Duval Street. But I’m a competitive person, and I wanted to be the best one.”

Buffett’s scads of gold and platinum albums over the ensuing years can attest to to his success at that endeavor — not to mention he’s also a best-selling author and an ace entrepreneur with a massive portfolio of businesses.

But while he’s a true son of the South (born in Mississippi) and has made an industry out of the image of a beach bum sipping a cool one somewhere in the Keys, California has called to him often over the years.

The song “Margaritaville,” in fact, may have been born (or at least played for the very first time) right here in town, during a mid-1970s show at San Diego State University.

Memories are hazy now, but “I’m pretty sure that it was,” Buffett says. “I think it was San Diego State. We played a lot (there) in those days.”

escape to margaritaville musical

Escape to Margaritaville tickets on sale March 26th

La Jolla Playhouse announced today the complete casting and public on-sale date for its world-premiere musical Escape to Margaritaville, featuring the songs of legendary singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett. Performances are scheduled for May 9 to June 18, 2017.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Sunday, March 26 at noon and will be available online at, by phone at (858) 550-1010, or in person at The Playhouse’s Patron Services Office (hours: Tue – Sun, noon to 6pm) at 2910 La Jolla Village Drive.

Joining the previously announced Paul Alexander Nolan, Alison Luff (Matilda The Musical), and Lisa Howard are Charlie Pollock, Don Sparks, Andre Ward, and Rema Webb. The ensemble includes Matt Allen, Sara Andreas, Katie Banville, Hanz Enyeart, Marjorie Failoni, Samantha Farrow, Keely Hutton, Justin Keats, Mike Millan, Justin Mortelliti, Ian Paget, Sharone Sayegh, Alex Michael Stoll, Jena VanElslander, and UC San Diego M.F.A. students Andrew Gallop, Volen Iliev, and Mo Rodvanich.

escape to margaritaville musical

Casting for Escape to Margaritaville announced

From “Paul Alexander Nolan Set to Star in Broadway-Aimed Escape to Margaritaville’s World Premiere

Paul Alexander Nolan will sink his teeth into a starring role (and perhaps a cheeseburger in paradise?) in the Broadway-aimed Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville. The Bright Star standout will headline the production’s world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. He is set to play Tully, a part-time bartender and singer. Broadway alums Alison Luff and Lisa Howard will take on the roles of Rachel and Tammy, respectively. Performances of the Christopher Ashley-helmed musical are scheduled to begin on May 9. As previously announced, a Great White Way opening is slated for spring 2018.

The new show will feature Buffett’s classic hits, as well as original songs from the singer/songwriter. The story, crafted by book writers Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, follows a Nolan’s character Tully at the titular tropical island resort as he questions his relaxed ways upon meeting (and falling in love with) a career-minded tourist.

The La Jolla engagement is scheduled to run through June 25. The production will then go to New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre from October 20 through 28. Performances at Houston’s Hobby Center will run from October 31 through November 5. The Chicago stint is set for November 9 through December 3. Further casting will be announced at a later date.