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Review: ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE at The John W. Engeman Theater

The John W. Engeman Theater does not disappoint with their current offering of Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville. The exquisite Northport, Long Island, venue delivers a truly joyous production of the musical and the cast is extraordinarily talented. And judging by the very enthusiastic Parrot Heads that were in the audience opening weekend, you should get your tickets quickly as it runs through August 27th.

Excellently directed and choreographed by Long Island theater vet Keith Andrews, the tale by Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley follows Tully, Rachel, Tammy, and Brick as they cross paths in the Caribbean. They all meet rather unexpectedly, but they meet at the right time in their lives. The story is set to the songs made famous by Mr. Buffett including "License To Chill", "It's Five O' Clock Somewhere", and of course the show's namesake, "Margaritaville".

Among the gorgeous cast, Meadow Nguy returns to the Engeman in this production as Rachel, a scientist with work always on her mind. Rachel and Tammy, superbly portrayed by Maggie Bera, are about to embark on a BFF vacation as Tammy is about to marry deadbeat Chadd, portrayed by Mikey Marmann. They troupe down to the the Margaritaville Hotel and Bar (where else?) where they meet Tully, a musician at the hotel strongly portrayed by Sam Sherwood, and Brick, one of the bartenders at the hotel charmingly portrayed by Hunter Brown. Indeed it is quite the week they have. Among the interesting characters they come across are the delightfully sassy Marley portrayed by Amanda Bailey, JD hilariously portrayed by Dan Sharkley, and Jamal in a jovial performance by Dwayne Washington. Truly the entire cast is exemplary.

On the clever creative team, the first thing you will notice as you enter the beautiful theater is Kyle Dixon's vibrant set. It is absolutely stunning. A brilliant combination of uplifting colors and tropical flora drape the stage so you think you are in a tropical paradise. This is elevated by John Burkland's excellent lighting design and Laura Shubert's excellent sound design. Naturally, it is always great to see a live orchestra this one superbly led by Ed Goldschneider. It is a visually stunning production and be sure to take part in the fun party on the stage before the show starts. The cast members mingle and entertain as the audience has their cocktails and shown to their seats.

And so, Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville is certainly another hit for the Engeman Theater. Always being on theme, this is truly a great summer show. Great music, Caribbean vibes, and the beautiful Engeman Theater make for an enjoyable night of theater.

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