Lyceum Theatre’s production of Escape to Margaritaville is a tropical rom-com romp of a musical. Featuring the tunes of quintessential beach bum Jimmy Buffett, audience members are sure to be tapping their toes. Flip-flops and board shorts optional.

“Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville” is a musical comedy about Tully, a beach bum who falls for Rachel, an environmental scientist visiting to collect soil samples from a volcano.
Photo courtesy of Ryan J. Zirngibl

By Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

From now till July 7, watch Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville at the Lyceum Theatre, a hidden gem of a theater. Situated in Arrow Rock, a tiny historic village with a grand population of 57, located about a 50-minute drive from both Columbia and Sedalia, Lyceum Theatre is a 416-seat venue that might seem dismissable at first glance.

But in reality, the theater draws a steady stream of talented actors from Broadway and beyond. Producing Artistic Director Quin Gresham works with Lyceum’s New York City-based casting director to find talent, and Margaritaville is almost exclusively cast with actors from these auditions.

“One of the really special things about working at the Lyceum is that, though the work is intense, it often seems like a therapeutic retreat from the noise and hustle of city life,” Gresham says. “Without many distractions, theater artists are able to have a very pure experience working in Arrow Rock.”

No wonder the town and theater are so appealing to big-city actors. The same can be said for the audience—the theater puts on ten shows per production, meaning that more than 4,000 people make the drive just to watch Lyceum Theatre’s shows.

“Company members often comment on the enthusiasm of Lyceum audiences—probably more than any other place I’ve worked, Arrow Rock audiences have proven themselves, time and time again, to be the best around,” Gresham says.

Located in Arrow Rock, population 57, the Lyceum Theatre is known for its Broadway-caliber productions.
Photo courtesy of Ryan J. Zirngibl

And the production value of Lyceum Theatre’s shows far exceed what you would expect from a tiny mid-Missouri town—the Margaritaville production boasts several sets that can be switched in mere seconds and quick-rigging costumes for actors to change in the blink of an eye.

Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville is a musical comedy about Tully, a beach bum who falls for Rachel, an environmental scientist visiting to collect soil samples from a volcano. Chaos and romance ensue. Featuring Buffett’s classic hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” this show offers a hilarious escape to a tropical paradise.

The show had its Broadway debut in 2018 and has been widely produced since then, but leave it to Lyceum Theatre to put its own unique twist on the show.

“I don’t want to give away too much of some of the special plot points, but there are definitely surprises to be had,” says Director of Production Ryan Zirngibl. “Without giving too much away, the script has a really, really delightful use of “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” the famous Jimmy Buffett song, but it’s completely unexpected the way that they use it … and I think audiences are going to love it. But you know, it’s a show that has surprises.”

After the show, the experience doesn’t end there. Be sure to head over to local ice cream parlor The Badger’s Hideaway, which crafts new ice cream flavors from scratch for every single Lyceum production. Whether it’s the musical delight that is Escape to Margaritaville or The Badger’s Hideaway’s unique flavors, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this one-of-a-kind treat. 

Featured image courtesy of Ryan J. Zirngibl. 

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