Thursday, May 30, 2024

Broadway Booms But Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville” Won’t Make it to Last Call


Broadway was booming this week, up $20 million since mid February when things looked bleak. Most every show is doing well, or well enough. “Chicago,” running since 1830, has a new lease on life thanks to Valerie Simpson’s guest shot.

This cannot be said of Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville.” The jukebox musical was roundly panned when it open a couple of weeks ago. Since then, audiences — except for Buffett’s hardcore fans– have stayed away.

Last week “Margaritaville” made just $600,000 in a house that could yield $1,752 million if it sold out. Just 34% of the seats are filled. The show is playing at 60% of its financial capacity. You can hear the parrots crying in the balcony.

So many shows have died in the cold and forbidding Marquis theater in the Marriott Marquis Hotel. “Margaritaville” doesn’t belong there. It’s way too big even if it’s in a tourist hotel that should feed it some natural audience. Buffett’s musical should be scaled all the way down and playing over on West 50th St. off Broadway at New World Stages.

At this rate, the sun is going to set on “Margaritaville” well before the Tony Awards. In three weeks we’ll have a lot of different nominations announced from various groups. When this show strikes out, the closing notice will go up. And everyone can have one last stiff drink.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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