What a surprise and delight! Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville has sailed to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. This contemporary love story directed by Amy Anders Corcoran will absolutely delight you. It’s always fun to see patrons donning loud suits covered in flamingos.
The story begins at the Margaritaville Hotel on a fictional tropical island where it’s the last day for a group of tourists before they head home on the ferry. Tully Mars (Chris Clark), the hotel’s resident musician, is saying goodbye to yet another woman who has fallen for his charm during her stay. It’s just another tourism week for Tully and his best friend Brick (Peter Michael Jordan) and it feels like nothing is ever going to change. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Rachel (Sarah Hinrichsen) is helping her best friend Tammy (Shelly Lynn Walsh) get packed for her bachelorette weekend. Rachel hates Tammy’s fiancée Chadd, who is forcing Tammy to be on an insane diet in preparation for their wedding. Chadd and his friends warn Tammy not to cheat, and she and Rachel head off to the Margaritaville Hotel. Between Tully, Brick, and the rest of the hotel staff, Rachel and Tammy are in for the week of their lives.
I honestly did not know anything about this show going in. I am familiar with the music and vibe of Jimmy Buffett and was pleased to see that many of the patrons in the theater were dressed for the occasion. Wearing a floral shirt, I still felt a bit underdressed against the flower leis, pineapple sunglasses, and the previously mentioned flamingo patterned suit. While the first dance number of Escape to Margaritaville seemed a bit juvenile, reminiscent of the style of Beach Blanket Bingo, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I fell in love with the characters. Shelly Lynn Walsh’s vocals in “Fins” blew me away immediately, she continued to be a standout for me throughout the performance. Chris Clark and Sarah Hinrichsen were both great performers, they really endeared their characters to the audience gracefully. Peter Michael Jordan was hilarious as Brick, he has some hilarious issues and a fantastic dance number that just delighted the audience. The characters Marley (Rachel Lyn Fobbs) and J.D. (Patrick Cogan) were wonderful comic relief, and Cogan, Clark, and Jordan provided a beautiful harmony in “He Went to Paris.” The sets were simple and effective, there was even a hidden parrot on a speaker just off of the stage. I really enjoyed that some of the musicians were on the stage as part of the in-story ensemble backing Tully Mars.
Overall, this show is a party, a love story, and a comedy with a few unexpected raunchy turns and some audience participation opportunities. The music was expertly worked into the story in a way that made me feel like we were invited in on an inside joke. If you are questioning whether you should see this musical, you should. Grab a margarita before you go in, and get ready to dance in your seat and loudly cheer for characters you just met.
JIMMY BUFFETT’S ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
February 4 – 9, 2020
Tuesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 p.m.
*The 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday, February 8 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.
Tickets – Start at $26
In-Person – The Box Office
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Online – SCFTA.org
Phone – (714) 556-2787
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Group Sales – (714) 755-0236
Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday