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  Escape to Margaritaville at Ford Oriental Theatre

Escape to Margaritaville

Ford Oriental Theatre
24 W. Randolph Chicago

Featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, this new musical is the story of a tropical island resort and its part-time bartender, part-time singer and full time charmer who thinks he's got life all figured out. Until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.

Thru - Dec 2, 2017

Price: $35-$115

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

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  Escape to Margaritaville Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...If, like me, you consider Jimmy Buffett one of the narrative musical giants of his era and an inclusive, populist genius who blended rock, pop, country and reggae with his roots in protest folk music, and whose unique and massively influential songbook lies at the complex intersection of released sexual repression, impecunity and profound existential angst, then you'll likely lament the musical's seeming lack of interest in any of that."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Written by television veterans Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley, the show's book has a paint-by-number quality, but to their credit the pair has found a way to incorporate a good two dozen mood-shifting Buffett classics ("Son of a Son of a Sailor," "We are the People Our Parents Warned Us About," "Ragtop Day," "Love and Luck," "He Went to Paris," "License to Chill") in a way that seems wholly organic. In the process, much like Buffett's songbook, they have juxtaposed a playful, saucy vibe with a heartfelt philosophy of life rooted in both romance and ruefulness. And Tony Award-winning director Christopher Ashley ("Come from Away") has tapped into just the right tone - a mix of goofy whimsy and realistic life lessons."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...Clearly, director Christopher Ashley (2017's Tony Award winner for "Come From Away") understands Buffett's oeuvre. His brisk direction and peppy tone perfectly suits the cheery score, which -- like Buffett's concerts -- features the head parrothead's greatest hits."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...“Cheeseburger in Paradise” was a crowd-pleaser on the night I attended, serving as a pivotal moment in the secondary (and more heartwarming) love story between best friend Tammy (Lisa Howard) and bumbling Brick (Eric Petersen). Walt Spangler’s scenic design, Paul Tazewell’s costumes, and a bevy of beach balls contribute to the theater’s charming Caribbeanization."
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Marissa Oberlander

Time Out Chicago - Not Recommended

"...If only the integration of Buffett’s music were so smooth. Whether it’s his numerous novelty tunes or his more heartfelt story songs, few of the 27 numbers represented in here (some in just snippets or medleys) are natural fits for character development, and you can feel the strain of the writers trying to find places for them, whether it’s a stilted conversation between Tammy and Brick about their parents’ expectations (to set up “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About”) or Tully’s casual mention that his father and grandfather were both fishermen (cue up “Son of a Son of a Sailor”)."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...The most impressive aspect of Escape to Margaritaville is how Jimmy Buffett and the book writers (Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley) made every lyric from pre-existing songs progress both characters story. One of the most memorable lessons I have learned from being in the theatre is that audience members are almost always looking for a two hour escape. Last night a tropical escape was found in Margaritaville, and boy what a party it was."
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Justin Williams

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...It's a jukebox musical that marinates in Gilligan's Island/South Pacific nostalgia. Plus, it's got a feel-good love story that's a creditable excuse for over two dozen Jimmy Buffett "beachabilly" hits. En route to a 2018 Broadway opening next February, La Jolla Playhouse's origination of Escape to Margaritaville is elaborately likable, even on a shakedown cruise that ain't smooth sailing. But at its best this tequila-slurping musical fully enlists an audience's wishful thinking, enough to help us overlook plot holes big enough for a black one."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Somewhat Recommended

“...Like any new work, it’s still an unfinished rough draft, with a heavy emphasis on the “rough.” Margaritaville wants so desperately to prove its “fun” that it sacrifices conflict, plot, and character in place of corny jokes, pointless songs, and even a weird tap-dance from a bunch of zombies… Given the current status of this show, you may want to down a few margaritas yourself before heading to the theatre. Sober or not you’re bound to have a hangover after sitting through this show.”
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Justin LeClaire

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...With the great success of Abba and their "Mama Mia", it was obvious that taking a musical legend's music and adding a story that would link the songs can be a hit. Add to this, the great Chicago stages as the gateway to Broadway and Chicago's own Jimmy Buffett, and we have what could be the next big "cult musical" , "Escape to Margaritaville..the Musical"! In their slogan they say "more than a musical, It's a way of life". While I am not sure about what that translates to, I am sure that based on the opening night crowd reaction, this is a show that will work on the New York stages as well as here in Chicago."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Whatever else, this show is simply a sitcom-like, escapist entertainment. There's not too much to think or worry about in this play. Audiences, especially those of a certain age, can simply leave their troubles outside the door, grab a tropical drink in the lobby and flash back to a simpler, more carefree time. There's no denying that this trip to Margaritaville is also another formulaic jukebox musical, very much in the style of ABBA's "Mamma Mia!" Most of the singer/composer's songbook is on display in this show. Will it become the next Broadway hit? That's debatable. It will, however, appeal to the many, many Jimmy Buffet fans around the country and may even ignite a new interest in his music among younger theatergoers. But whatever else it is, this musical offers a "License to Chill.""
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...Anyone who has been to a “Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefers” concert, from first-timer to life-long “Parrothead,” knows that his shows are a love fest between Jimmy, his music, and the audience; a simultaneous celebration of island life with all that entails. So it’s no surprise that his musical Escape to Margaritaville, in a pre-Broadway engagement at the Oriental Theatre, captures the same nostalgia and celebration as his live performances and brings the audience along for this joyous ride."
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Sheri and Josh Flanders

Chicago Theater and Arts - Somewhat Recommended

"...Dressed in a never been worn Hawaiian shirt and accompanied by one of the biggest Jimmy Buffett fans I know we were ready to "Escape to Margaritaville" and party. Unfortunately this ship barely left port. In fact it will be moored at the Oriental Theatre on State and Randolph Streets in Chicago through December 2, 2017."
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Reno Lovison

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