Featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ is coming to Houston’s Hobby Center as part of a limited pre-Broadway engagement. And, as all Buffet fans will understand, ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ is more than a musical. It’s a way of life.
Ahead of the show’s opening, we chatted with Eric Petersen, who plays one of the lead characters, “Brick.”
TLM: Tell us about the character you play.
“The show is about a guy who plays guitar at a resort in the tropics named Tully. I’m the comic relief to Tully’s character. I play Brick, his best friend and cohort in weekly shenanigans on the island. The two of us are used to having a new “girlfriend” each week when the new tourists arrive. The fun part of this show is that the guys finally find two lovely ladies who change our ways. Tully is more the smooth romantic ladies’ man, and Brick, my character, is a bit on the “slower side.” Brick’s a fun guy to play—he is quite charming, in an adorable simple kind of way.
TLM: Give us an inside look at what it takes to be a part of this new musical.
“I’ve been a part of the show since it’s very first reading in 2015, and have loved every second. I’ve only missed last summer’s show at the La Jolla Playhouse. (I was starring in “School of Rock” on Broadway at the time). The fact that this show has only taken two to three years since its first reading to opening on Broadway is awesome. Most shows take five to 10!
This show’s being guided by some amazing, creative people and I think audiences will really feel so much joy when they leave the theatre. Obviously, the music is some of the best, most-beloved music in the world—Jimmy Buffett’s storytelling skills make his music the perfect vehicle for a theatrical show. We also have the insanely talented and funny book writers Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley. They both have top notch television pedigrees and are hilariously funny writers. Our director is the recent TONY winner Christopher Ashley and he really knows how to craft a fun story, interesting characters, and a theatrical experience that is unforgettable. Kelly Devine’s choreography is so cool, and sexy and fun.
TLM: Do you have a favorite Jimmy Buffett song? What is it and why?
“My two favorite Buffett songs are ‘Pirate Looks At 40’ and ‘Son of A Sailor.’ Both those songs really capture Jimmy’s beautiful storytelling and great voice. Both feel very deeply important to me and my life… I grew up in a boating family and his music was basically all we listened to every weekend out on the lake.
TLM: Why should we not miss coming to see this production?
“If you want to have a truly enjoyable two and a half hours in the theatre where you will be taken away to a sunny, fun, rockin’ island in the tropics where comedy and great music surround you, then come to see ‘Escape to Margaritaville!’ You don’t have to be a Buffett fan to enjoy this show, just come ready to laugh and soak up the relaxing vibes of some great music.
Escape to Margaritaville runs Oct 31-Nov 5 at Houston’s Hobby Center. Get tickets here.
Cover: Alison Luff + Paul Nola | photo Matthew Murphy