Home Wedding songs Jimmy Buffett’s ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE at Shea’s is good light fun, but...

Jimmy Buffett’s ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE at Shea’s is good light fun, but a bit stereotypical and forced. It’s only until Sunday.


THE BASICS: Jimmy Buffett’s ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE National Tour concludes at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (Shea’s Buffalo Theater) this Sunday evening, November 21, Thursday – Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 1:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. (Sheas.org). All your favorite snacks, champagne, full service bar, merch. Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission.

THUMBNAIL SKETCH: This musical follows the well-known romantic comedy or “Rom-Com” formula (a boy meets a girl of different origin or personality, problems arise, true love wins) as well as the format of the ” Jukebox Musical “- by cramming as many well-known popular songs as possible, the plot is cursed. There must be a primary couple, or “A”, and each of them must have a best friend / winged person, slightly off the comedic relief, which often becomes the secondary couple or “B”. And in this musical, we even get a third couple. Why so many couples? Because the writers needed a wide variety of situations to justify the 25 songs that are included.

Here’s who’s who: Tully is a singer in a run-down Caribbean hotel called Margaritaville, owned by an island woman named Marley, where Tully’s friend Brick is the bartender, and JD is the local drunkard. Meanwhile, Rachel, a professional researcher in Cincinnati, and her best friend Tammy decide to go on vacation on the eve of Tammy’s wedding to bossy and controlling Chadd. As the boys, Tully and Brick, fall in love with the two guests, Rachel and Tammy must return home to prepare for Tammy’s wedding. After song tracks here and there, Act I finally remembered that it was a jukebox musical and ended with a big production number, including all the verses from the song “Margaritaville” . In Act II, JD and Marley (the third couple) take the boys to Cincinnati for the big gesture and to wrap it up.


When Jimmy Buffett and his band “The Coral Reefers” go on tour, he would have a list of songs he likes to call “The 15 Songs We Must Play Or Get Killed”. Apparently he gave this list to Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley who went on to write the book for this musical, using this list and more. In the end, there were 25 songs, sort of. Now usually a playlist lists, in sung order, the songs we will hear, but for this musical we get an alphabetical list of 25 songs. This is because with the exception of the song “Margaritaville” which closes Act I, I thought the first act was mostly composed of fragments of songs. During intermission I complained about this to a couple who had seen this musical when it premiered on Broadway and assured me that would change in Act II, which was true.

I was prepared for a show with more full songs throughout, which is my memory of how MAMMA MIA! (songs by ABBA), or JERSEY BOYS (with songs from The Four Seasons), or MOVIN ‘OUT (songs by Billy Joel) were arranged.

Main image: Photo by © Matthew Murphy

Unlike most romantic comedies, it turned out that I didn’t really root any of the couples. And, I thought the bad guy, Tammy’s fiancée, had no idea, and not horrible enough. He gets his comeuppance towards the end, and many in the audience cheered, but I thought the cheers should have been louder. And it would have been, perhaps, if Chadd had been worse.

I think another issue is that unlike a Jimmy Buffett gig, the audience was there mainly because they had season tickets and this musical was the next touring show. So despite the odd Hawaiian shirt in the audience, it was a Broadway crowd, not a Jimmy Buffett crowd. At several points, the script expects the audience to be more involved than the Buffalo audience was.

There were several fun “meta” moments. At first a guest from the island is invited to eat at “BUFF-it” and when the guest says “You don’t mean buff-AY?” He was told, “No, the BUFF-it … buff-ay is a singer’s name.” And when the boys arrive in Cincinnati, Tammy, almost like she knows she’s in a romantic comedy, asks The Brick “Oh, is that your big gesture?” »And, there are a lot of taps because…. well because it’s a Broadway show, even though the lead actor in this issue wears sneakers. But the best meta-line was when an African-American talent agent asked Tully to take his career to the next level. When he hesitates, she tells him his number will work – “acoustic guitar, songs on the beach, hush puppies – white people love that shit”.

Main image: Photo by © Matthew Murphy

So if you go, don’t go for the intermission which some people around me apparently did. And, by the way, don’t be in too much of a rush to leave Shea’s either, because just like with THE BAND’S VISIT, the band has a very satisfying extended encore set. And, speaking of the band, they’re on stage for the whole musical, although we don’t always see them, but when they are, we can tell there’s a real steel drum on stage, not a sample. synth. And that I loved.

Main image: Photo by © Matthew Murphy

* BUFFALO HERD (Notes on rating system)

A BUFFALO: It means trouble. A terrible play, a very imperfect production, or both. Unless you have a really compelling reason to attend (that is, you are the parent of someone who is attending), give this show a big place.

TWO BULBS: Fair, but no big bumps. Either the production is quite far from the base, or the part itself is problematic. Unless you’re the type of person who just enjoys going to the theater, you might be looking for something else.

THREE buffaloes: I still have my problems, but it’s a hell of a good night at the theater. If you don’t come in with huge expectations, you will probably be satisfied.

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre / content is right for you, I would make a real effort to attend.

FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb, a rare rating. Comedies that make you laugh, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided this is the kind of show you love, you would be crazy to miss it!

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