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Theater Review: Be sure to ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ in Northport this summer


Grab your favorite cocktail, a Hawaiian-print shirt and head on down to Northport to go wastin’ away again in Margaritaville at the John W. Engeman Theater.


Its latest show, Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville, isn’t only for “Parrot Heads” or Buffet enthusiasts — it has something for everyone: a really good time.


The show starts out following a part-time bartender/part-time singer, Tully, (who’s also a full-time ladies’ man) at his job on an island in the sun. Working at a tourist spot, he’s introduced to a visitor named Rachel who’s on location for a work trip/bachelorette party for her best friend, Tammy.


A complete overachiever and workaholic, Rachel isn’t really expecting anything but gathering soil at the local volcano for her project. But Tully, intrigued by her, attempts to befriend her and eventually falls hard in love.


Through the beachy sounds of Jimmy Buffet, the audience is taken on a journey of the island, learning the backstories (good and bad) of all the characters inhabiting it. Not only will the show make you laugh out loud, but you’ll be out of your seat singing along to popular hits including “Fins,” “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and, of course, “Margaritaville.”


Directed and choreographed by Keith Andrews, the entire cast deserves accolades for their performance. Sam Sherwood (Tully) is a true star, while Amanda Bailey (Marley), Maggie Bera (Tammy), Hunter Brown (Brick) and Meadow Nguy (Rachel) shine alongside him.


Dan Sharkey, who plays the questionable and somewhat lost J.D., will have you laughing and falling in love with his character, especially after you learn more about how he landed on the island.


And if you like piña coladas, or any other fruity drinks, make sure you head to the theater a bit early for a pre-show where visitors can hop on stage, grab a beverage and listen to some tunes sung by the cast as if they are victors to the resort themselves!


That being said, the set design feels like you’re in the Caribbean or somewhere in Hawaii. Beautiful tropical flowers in bright, summer colors line the stage, while the house band (who is typically seated beneath the stage) performs live music front and center.


But while the show primarily takes place at the resort, the cast does a great job with extras to flip between Tammy’s apartment, the airport, a restaurant in the states and of course, the volcano. Yes, there’s an active volcano that smokes right in the background. However, don’t worry — it hasn’t been active in years… when it killed real estate agents who were vacationing for a conference a few decades ago… (You’ll learn that backstory if you come by).


So, make sure you change into your shirt with a fun, bold print, put on your sandals and take a shot of tequila before you head down to The Engeman for a fantastic and fun night out because, remember, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!


The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville through Aug. 27. Showings include Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Some Wednesdays and Sunday evenings are available. Tickets are $80 or $85 for Saturday evenings. To order call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

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