Last week, as the cold wind passed through downtown Chicago, a group of people gathered outside the Cadillac Theater in Hawaiian shirts and shorts on a red carpet. Bystanders were very confused on why anyone would be wearing summer clothes in freezing Chicago. Palm trees swayed high above the theater and the people were happy. More people gathered outside as TV news crews started to set up and the doors opened to the theater.
"Cheeseburger in Paradise", "Volcano" and "Fins" are just some of Jimmy Buffett’s greatest hits that made it into the musical. "Escape to Margaritaville" is a musical written by Jimmy Buffett and his crew, which is making its way through the states. It started off in New Orleans, made it’s way to Chicago and is now on it’s way to the big stage in New York City. I was given the opportunity to go see the show and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
Walking into the theater was a whole experience on its own. The lobby was filled with beach balls, palm trees, and summer vibes. I was instantly transported to warmer weather with the sun shining high. At the same time, it was chaotic.
The one and only Mr. Jimmy Buffett was in attendance for the show. He gracefully exited his vehicle, walked down the red carpet and stopped for interviews. Everyone freaked out. People started yelling and I am pretty sure I saw some men and women crying.
Everyone wanted to shake the legend’s hand or at least see him up close. A group followed Mr. Buffett around and his bodyguards were on extra high alert. As he was pushed through the lobby, he stopped for as many people as he could, shaking hands and taking pictures. He disappeared as quickly as he appeared. The lights dimmed and the show was on its way.
With the opening note, I knew that this wasn’t going to be like any other musical. Sure “Hamilton”is a kind of its own and “The Phantom of the Opera” is a classic, but “Escape to Margaritaville” was a spectacular concert. Now usually musicals really aren’t a sing-a-long kind of deal. You have to be respectful of the performers and let them show off their talent. "Escape to Margaritaville" encouraged sing-a-longs. The actors broke the fourth wall and talked to the audience to encourage them to sing with the music.
The storyline was just as lovely as the set. Boy meets girl and they fall in love, despite some complications. The storyline is one that we have all seen before but this one was different. Sure they fall in love but why? What was taught through this love? Is love stronger than anything out there? Should we all be looking for love or have love fall right into us? Love is a strong force but it can become stronger when you know you have found the one and have volcanos exploding on your island and have to fly a plane, which you know don’t know how to, and profess your love.
Now the set. OMG, the set was amazing! The bright, colorful set was so pleasing and instantly transported you to the summer getaway you have always dreamed about. The beach, the volcano and even the bar was so beautifully made. It made the musical what it is. A lovely escape to happiness. The clouds literally danced, the drinks made me want a margarita and the volcano was just as beautiful as it was destructive.
The experience was a special one. It felt as if everyone knew each other and were reuniting with old friends. Everyone was there for the same reason. To escape. What Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville wants to show everyone is that you can be happy, no matter what. You need to live your life to it’s fullest extent. Live so death has nothing to steal.