(Cover Photo: Wes Williams as "Tully" and the CAST of the Jimmy Buffett musical, "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" now playing at Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. through August 27, 2023. Photo Credit Paul Lyden)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”
- Jimmy Buffett
Book by Greg Garcia & Mike O'Malley
Music & Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett
Direction & Choreography by Charlie Sutton
Music Direction by Robert L. Rucinski
Cast Includes: Wes Williams* as “Tully”; Dakota Mackey-McGee* as “Rachel”; Shelly Lynn Walsh* as “Tammy”; Sean Steele* as “Brick”; Altamiece Carolyn Cooper* as “Marley”; Joe Hart* as “J.D.”; Caleb Ajao as “Jamal”; Maurice Dawkins* as “Ted”; Kal Kalil* as “Chadd”; Ensemble: Caleb Ajao, Savanna Cranford, Maurice Dawkins*, Alex Deleo*, Fabi Gallmeister*, Kal Kalil*, Esther Lee, Melaina Rairamo*, Luke Rands, Whitney Renee*, Taryn Smithson*, Cait Zuckerman*.
UNDERSTUDIES AND STUDY COVERS
Understudies and Study Covers are never substituted for listed performers unless a specific announcement is made at the time of the performance.
Understudy For: Jamal - Maurice Dawkins*; Brick - Alex Deleo*; Chadd- Fabi Gallmeister*; Tully - Kal Kalil*; Rachel - Melaina Rairamo*; Marley - Whitney Renee*; Tammy - Cait Zuckerman*; Study Cover For: J.D.- Luke Rands.
Additional Creative Team:
Nate Bertone - Scenic Design; Kelly Baker - Costume Design; Corey Whittemore - Lighting Design; Don Hanna - Co-Sound Design; Alex Berg - Co-Sound Design; Rachel Padula-Shufelt - Wig & Hair Design; Luke Molloy - Assistant Music Director/Rehearsal Pianist; Bill Hanney - Owner/Producer; Kevin P. Hill - Producing Artistic Director; Matthew Chappell - Associate Producer/Casting Director.
* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
** Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE
August 15, 2023 to August 27, 2023
(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)
$68 - $93
For tickets and information visit www.nsmt.org, call (978) 232-7200, or visit the North Shore Music Theatre box office in person at 54 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
COVID 19 PROTOCOLS
Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.
North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) takes us on a vacation from our daily grind to an island retreat courtesy of the Jimmy Buffett musical, “ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE” and some suggested changes in both "latitude and attitude" are quite advisable here.
While the preposterous plotline resembles a bad “rom-com” movie, almost all of the plotline implausibility is forgiven once the infusion of songs from the Jimmy Buffett catalog is heard and wonderfully executed on stage by a vibrant ensemble.
Make no mistake - “ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE” is pure fun and, as the titles suggests, "escapism." Leave your troubles and worries behind or at home as they have no business in the same room as this show.
The musical premiered in a limited engagement in California in 2017. It was followed by more tryouts in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois before hitting the Broadway stage in 2018.
The show did not fare well, closing after only 29 previews and 124 regular performances.
However, this is one of those shows that has done exceptionally well on tour and in regional theatre. More than likely, it has done so well because it does not take itself seriously.
There are many memorable tunes by tunesmith Buffett to enjoy in the jukebox musical, be they for the strict Buffett “Parrothead” fan or average theatregoer.
Yet, the more interesting thing here is, musically, the construct of the libretto/score does not follow the standard “scene-song-scene-song” pattern.
An interesting choice was made for the lyrics to be “interspersed” spread out through the story. Some songs are done full out but also, most likely, you won’t hear an entire song - only a mere musical allusion to the tune in the score.
(Photo: Dakota Mackey-McGee as "Rachel" and Wes Williams as "Tully" in the Jimmy Buffett musical, "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" now playing at Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. through August 27, 2023. Photo © David Costa Photography)
The story of “ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" is less about drinking (surprise!) than one might expect and more about tourists having experiences during a remote island vacation.
The Greg Garcia/Mike O'Malley story is about singer-songwriter Tully (Wes Williams), a laid-back rogue with no long-term plans who performs and hangs out at the cozy little “MARGARITAVILLE" resort bar on a remote tropical island...located right near an active volcano.
Caution: It is strongly advised to “embrace the ‘ESCAPE’” and abandon all attempts to try and think too deeply about the plausibility of the above.
Williams as “Tully” is exactly what one would hope to be for a Jimmy Buffett-inspired lead. He is charismatic, laid-back, charming, witty and incredibly talented.
Williams also excels in almost every musical number in which he sings, particularly in the Buffett standards “License to Chill” and “Five O’Clock Somewhere.”
Tully falls for career-minded tourist, Rachel (Dakota Mackey-McGee), an ambitious scientist squarely focused on her science project to utilize potatoes as an alternative source of energy.
Caution: Once again, it is strongly advised to “embrace the ‘ESCAPE’” and abandon all attempts to try and think too deeply about the plausibility of the above.
Mackey-McGee as "Rachel" is excellent in the character which serves as a nice grounded contrast to the more unrestrained Tully. Her character's empowered motivations are well conveyed in the delightful tune, "It's My Job."
(Photo: Shelly Lynn Walsh as "Tammy" in the Jimmy Buffett musical, "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" now playing at Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. through August 27, 2023. Photo © David Costa Photography)
Literally sitting near the ACTIVE volcano on the island (see previous Cautions), Rachel begins to "warm-up" to Tully - first in the song "Three Chords" and then in the duet, "Son of a Son of a Sailor."
The chemistry between the two is immediate and maintains throughout the show.
The only reason Rachel is even on the island is because her friend, Tammy (Shelly Lynn Walsh) is determined to have one last “girls’ holiday” with her best friend before getting married to her lout of a fiancé, Chadd (Kal Kalil).
Then, Tammy meets Tully’s best friend, shy bartender Brick (Sean Steele), and instantly the two hit it off.
There is a nice playful quality to the supporting couple and the affection comes across as genuine.
In Act Two, Walsh, together with the musical's outstanding ensemble, knocks one out of the park in the musical's wonderfully outlandish production number, "Cheeseburger in Paradise."
(Photo: Wes Williams as "Tully" and the CAST of the Jimmy Buffett musical, "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" now playing at Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. through August 27, 2023. Photo Credit Paul Lyden)
Marley (Altamiece Carolyn Cooper) the owner of the "MARGARITAVILLE" resort and J.D. (Joe Hart), a one eyed pilot and beach bum who spends his days at the bar also provide some hilarious moments on stage, symbolized best when J.D. leads the entire audience in a rendition of Buffett's blatantly 'naughty,' "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw."
Other standout numbers include the more somber "He Went to Paris," "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude," "Volcano" and, of course, "MARGARITAVILLE."
Director and Choreographer Charlie Sutton takes full advantage of the NSMT theatre in the round arena, to which the musical lends itself PERFECTLY.
Above the stage are hanging lights and multiple tropical adornments making you feel, at times, as if you are watching this show unfold in the middle of Disney's "Tiki Room" which only adds to the overall enjoyment.
The fun here is in the absolute absurdity of the show and how the cast embraces that absurdity. Every other moment either makes you want to laugh or possibly sing along with the many great Jimmy Buffett tunes.
There are many high spots and even when things go wrong...like a watercraft UN-intentionally "capsizing" on stage...the cast and ensemble go with the flow or, as Jimmy Buffett himself might say, they "keep it between the navigational beacons."
Set your own navigational beacons for your planned "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE" which plays in Beverly until August 27th.
Coming up next at Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre: "THE FULL MONTY" beginning September 26, 2023. https://www.metrmag.com/upcoming-shows/the-full-monty-by-terrence-mcnally-and-david-yazbek-north-shore-music-theatre-beverly-ma
Approximately two hours, 25 minutes with one intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
ABOUT THE SHOW
Be transported to a tropical island getaway in "ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE."
This upbeat and energetic new musical is the story of a part-time bartender, part-time singer, and full-time charmer named Tully who thinks he’s got life all figured out, until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.
This hilarious, heartwarming musical comedy features the most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and many more!
This is the party you’ve been waiting for!
Contains adult themes, language, and situations. We do encourage you to use your judgment based on your own research of the show, your own sensibilities, and a child's age and maturity level.
No children under the age of 4 will be permitted in the theatre including babes in arms.
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 2 hrs 25 min (includes intermission)
ABOUT BILL HANNEY'S NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
Since opening in 1955, NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE (NSMT) has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors' Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. NSMT produced the World Premiere of "Memphis" in 2003, the show went on to win four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney since 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of "A Christmas Carol" along with celebrity concerts, children's programming and year-round education classes for children and adults.
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
54 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
PHONE # 978-232-7200
FAX # 978-232-9999