Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville
Walnut Street Theatre
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Also see Rebecca's recent reviews of Pay No Worship, Radio Golf and Mistakes Were Made

Matteo Scammell and Amanda Robles
Photo by Mark Garvin
Walnut Street Theatre is concluding its 214th season with Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville, an exuberant celebration of good times, beach vacations, tropical cocktails, and true love. This upbeat musical features both original songs and beloved Jimmy Buffett classics, including "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," "Fins, "Volcano," "Cheeseburger in Paradise," and of course, "Margaritaville." Directed and choreographed by Lisa Stevens, this enjoyable romp through the world of Jimmy Buffett is sure to have you singing along and feeling good.

The set-up is classic romantic comedy. Laid-back ladies man Tully sings and plays guitar at a touristy beach resort on the island of Margaritaville. Thanks to a steady influx of vacationers–and the help of his wing-man and bartender Brick–Tully has a new woman on his arm every week. Everything seems perfect until Rachel and Tammy show up on the island. Rachel is a serious scientist anxious to collect soil samples from around the local volcano while her best friend Tammy is just looking to have a good time before her wedding next week. Tully falls hard for Rachel and Brick is smitten with Tammy, but with Rachel's return home and Tammy's wedding on the horizon the future for both couples appears uncertain.

Matteo Scammell is naturally easygoing and undeniably charismatic as singer and guitarist Tully. I was worried that the "ladies man with a heart of gold" trope would feel dated or even cringy, but Scammell brings an earnest energy that makes it easy to understand why even serious and skeptical Rachel falls hard. Amanda Robles plays Rachel with an endearingly fierce attitude and strong vocals. Robles and Scammell have great chemistry, but I really love the way Kelly J. Mazzella and Zach Kononov play off each other as Tammy and Brick. Kononov's goofy appeal and Mazzella's excited nervousness are endearing. Bill Van Horn channels Jimmy Buffett perfectly as dude-master J.D., and Dana Orange is hilarious as Jamal and Ted.

Margaritaville is all about having fun, and director Stevens makes sure the production never takes itself too seriously. And the lively and energetic cast keeps the audience engaged throughout and brings real joy to Stevens' spirited choreography. Richard St. Clair's colorful costumes and Richard St. Clair's beachy sets create a vibrant island atmosphere that invites the to let loose and have a good time.

Through their interactions with each other and the island's natural beauty, the characters in Margaritaville learn to embrace a more relaxed and carefree way of life. It's not a trip to the Caribbean, but you just might leave the theater feeling more playful and unworried too.

Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville runs through April 30, 2023, at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 ext. 6 or visit or

Tully: Matteo Scammell
Rachel Amanda Robles
Tammy: Kelly J. Mazzella
Brick: Zach Kononov
Marley: Demetria Joyce Bailey
J.D: Bill Van Horn
Jamal/Ted: Dana Orange
Chadd: Dante Brattelli

Dante Brattelli, Alexandra Frohlinger, Rachael Britton Hart, Adam Mandala, Kimberly Maxson, Taylor Hilt Mitchell, Dana Orange, Andrew Natale Ruggieri, Audrey Biehl Simmons, Devon Sinclair, Sierra Wilson, Jon Yepez

Zachary DeBevec, Gregory Holmes Jr., Hadly Patterson, Tiara Whaley

Production and Design Team:
Director and Choreographer: Lisa Stevens
Music And Vocal Director: Chris Burcheri
Scenic Design: Brian Froonjian
Costume Design: Richard St. Clair
Lighting Design: Matthew Demascolo
Sound Design: Alex Brock
Wig And Makeup Design: Carissa Thorlakson