New Buffett musical on way to Broadway
Admittedly I am off by a generation at getting the appeal of a Buffett song. Perhaps it’s because his corny ditties don’t speak to me personally or because I live in the epicenter of Parrotville where the Buffett lifestyle has been overly magnified for my taste. But I am not such a musical puritan that if I hear the word “hushpuppy,” I won’t sing along. There is something genius about writing hushpuppies into a song and garnering millions of fans and, yes, “Come Monday” is catchy.
So when I heard there was a musical going to Broadway titled “Escape to Margaritaville” I almost detached my retinas rolling my eyes. How does Buffett get blood from a stone? A dated old stone at that. This kind of hokey sing-along will most likely be hailed as a rompin’ good time by People magazine but I wonder, will it appeal to a more youthful generation? Buffett admits in Vanity Fair (November 2017) that a lot of the songs were written in the Keys almost 50 year ago. Now he has created a musical comedy set on an island paradise, in a bar, with some locals, and everyone sings a catchy Buffett song. Sounds like a cloroxed and choreographed version of a night on Duval.
But Buffett has upped the ante and is testing my skepticism, “Escape to Margaritaville” may not be just the regurgitation of his greatest hits. What is unexpected is the people behind the story. Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, two of Hollywood’s most edgy comedic writers, wrote the book. Garcia was the brilliant creator and writer behind “Yes Dear,” “My Name Is Earl,” and “Raising Hope.” He also has written for “Family Matters” and “Family Guy.” These are shows that come with an acerbic bite and unveil American culture for its ineptitude and humor. O’Malley, actor and writer, starred in “Yes Dear,” “My Name Is Earl,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Justified,” and was Emmy-nominated for his role on “Glee.” He also was a consulting producer on the most immoral show ever created, “Shameless.” Who knows how they ended up revitalizing cheeseburgers in paradise, but it certainly sounds like a good start. Let alone the host of Tony award-winning crew working on the musical as well. Maybe they have carved an old stone into a new work of art?
The musical has already had a run at the La Jolla Theater in California, when Los Angeles Time critic Charles McNulty wrote, “It’s the jukebox musical equivalent to Mama Mia. True to its title, ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ is pure escapism. These things are difficult to quantify, but I’d imagine the theatergoing experience is equivalent to watching four or five ‘Two and a Half Men’ reruns back to back.” McNulty admits he had a good time. In the age of cerebral musicals like Hamilton, that’s a pretty good thumbs-up. While Buffett’s first play “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” written with Herman Wouk in the ’90s, never made it Broadway, it seems like he finally found his musical paradise . Go to www.escapetomargaritavillemusical.com for more information.
“Escape to Margaritaville”
New Orleans, Oct. 20-28
Houston, Oct. 31-Nov. 5
Chicago, Nov. 9 – Dec 9
Broadway, begins Feb. 16