Tammy (Lisa Howard) clicks with
barkeep Brick (Eric Petersen) (© MATTHEW MURPHY)
By Eugene Paul
Christopher Ashley will be reveling in having two hits on Broadway at the same
time, one from the heart, Come From Away, and one from Margaritaville.
a great big confection,- make that an alcoholic confection - so cleverly
manufactured, from the oversized bar in the Marquis Theatre lobby to the beachy
tables and the beachy lounge chairs and the swinging balloony lights taking
over the third floor of the Marquis, so showbiz savvy, the palm trees waggling
out over the huge Marquis house luring you into Walt Spangler’s son of a
beachy settings, so media tricked out with the ever present 100 proof Jimmy
Buffett songs that it’s all but irresistible. And when everybody is finally
bombarded with hundreds of beach balls to tuck under your arm as a final
memento, you’re a goner. Completely Margaritavile conquered. Disney, move over.
party starts before the curtain. Jimmy Buffett’s hordes of serious Fans!
just my corner of the vast Marquis theatre, -- I was in the long haired blondes
section by accident, bevies of long haired blonde mothers and daughters , prime
territory, (two $16 drinks apiece before the show started) actively sought out
by septuagenarian Parrot Heads – that’s long time Buffett devotees -- handsomely
garbed,( especially the beach shirted one printed all over with “Cheeseburger
in Paradise”) (yep, there’s racks you can buy before, or at intermission, or
after the show, on the way home with your beach ball).Who sang along with every
one of Jimmy Buffett’s twenty-seven songs in the show. Did all the moves,
too. Kind of two shows in one from where I was sitting.
Rachel and Tully (Alison Luff and Paul
big show up on the stage starring amazing Paul Alexander Nolan – does he get
extra pay for not only singing but playing guitar? – delicious Alison Luff,
equally tasty Lisa Howard, terrific Eric Petersen, Rema Webb, Don Sparks,
Andre Ward all absolutely top flight and a fabulous company of dancing
singers, singing dancers dazzling in lots of costumes with tickles of tricks
in them by designer Paul Tazewell.
the story? Beach bum sex object Tully (Paul Alexander Nolan) works for Marley
(Rema Webb) who runs a bed and breakfast – make that liquid breakfast –
designed to completely entertain the visiting weekly boatloads of tourists to
her island, Margaritaville, where they have a fab time of sun and fun and sex
and booze for a week and then are gone. Everybody likes change, don’t they?
Tully does. He sings and plays and romances and gently lets the latest
infatuated down when their forever romance is up at the end of the week. Suits
him. On to the next boatload.
he meets and gets smitten by bioengineer Rachel (Alison Luff) who is not only
stunning and sings like a dream and is only there because her best friend,
Tammy (Lisa Howard) had to have a getaway before she got married to a schlub.
Rachel’s real desire is to get a venture capitalist interested in her design
for turning potatoes into energizer bunnies, but in the meantime, she succumbs
to Margaritaville and to Tully’s charms for a week.
it’s not brain surgery. Nevertheless, Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, long time
skilled television writer producers, who wrote the book have touched every
base: in Margaritaville, everybody’s equal, all races, all sexes, all ages,
everybody’s colorful. Garcia and O’Malley have enlivened the show with enough
one liners to get from one Buffett song to the next painlessly so what’s the
big deal. Some tweaky borrowings. I did love their dead insurance salesmen
choreographer Kelly Devine’s dancers burst with exuberance practically from
start to finish of the twenty-nine scenes so there’s never a moment of just
mellow go with the flow Buffettry but who cares, it’s the whole package that
see, a volcano that blows up, a buried treasure, a trip in a plane, a bar in Cincinnati (huh?!) and a wedding on the beach, just to give you a rough idea of the fun. All
expertly expertly done. Oh, and just because it’s a big old musical comedy
darned if there isn’t a great tap dancing show stopper. Which makes no sense
but by then you are under the Jimmy Buffett spell. And our friends nearby and
around have sung through not only “Cheeseburger in Paradise” but “Son of a
Sailor”, The Tin Chalice”, “We are the People our Parents Warned us About”,
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, “Let’s Get Drunk”,”Breathe In, Breathe Out,Move
On” and so many more…
at the Marquis Theatre, 210 West 46th Street. Tickets:
$59-$249.877-250-2929. 2hrs,25 min. Open run.