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Q&A: Alison Luff of ‘Escape to Margaritaville’

Category Actor Spotlight

|by Jeryl Brunner |


Meet Alison Luff, who stars in this new party of a musical

The musical comedy Escape to Margaritaville celebrates the songs of Jimmy Buffett. Head to the Margaritaville Hotel in the middle of the Caribbean without ever leaving New York City. Now playing at the Marquis Theatre, the party of a show features classic Buffett songs like “Volcano” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” along with lesser-known tunes in the Buffet lexicon. Luff stars as Rachel, who has enormous passion and dedication for her career – but she doesn’t give herself much down time for anything else. That is, until she escapes to Margaritaville. The talented cast also includes Paul Alexander Nolan, Lisa Howard, Eric Petersen, Rema Webb, Don Sparks and Andre Ward. 

Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan in 'Escape to Margaritaville' (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan in 'Escape to Margaritaville' (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

What do you adore about performing in Escape to Margaritaville? 
Alison Luff:
I love playing a character I believe in. I have a lot in common with her. It's very fun and very tricky at the same time. I also love sharing a story that reminds people to slow down, look up, work hard but enjoy the ride.

Rachel is so fiercely devoted to her work and passions. What qualities in Rachel do you love? 
Alison Luff:
Probably my favorite quality in Rachel is her endless, resilient devotion to bettering the world for generations to follow. I also love her directness and her glee when talking about her work. She has that same glee revealed when talking to her best friend Tammy. 

When did you know you had to perform? 
Alison Luff:
I have had a one-track mind for theater since I can remember. When I was about four years old, my parents took me to see the out-of-town pre-Broadway run of Beauty and The Beast in Houston. I turned to them and whispered, “I wanna do that…” Or at least that’s what I kind of remember and what I think they told me.  And have been doing it since I was about five years old. It’s still my dream job.

How cool that you and your husband, Matthew Magnusson, sing and write songs with your band, The Bones. What do you love about that piece of your life? 
Alison Luff:
I strongly believe that our band, The Bones, and all the music that Matthew and I create is a manifestation of our love, our story and all the love that came before us. It’s another form of storytelling, only more personal. In a way I feel like I have found my own truest voice through writing and creating our music. 

What do you remember about making your Broadway debut in Mama Mia? 
Alison Luff:
I loved Mama Mia and grew up seeing it tour my hometown when I was a teenager. It was one of my big first gigs because I did the national tour for a year before moving to the Broadway company. We have eight people in Escape to Margaritaville making their Broadway debut, which is really special. It’s a dream come true.

When you are not working, what do you love to do? 
Alison Luff:
Play guitar, write, and I LOVE cooking!!! One of my favorite pasttimes is cooking epic feasts. 

When did you first discover the music of Jimmy Buffett?
Alison Luff:
I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett on road trips. One of my earliest memories was dancing to a Jimmy Buffett cover band in the Florida Keys when I was about five years old, so I knew a lot of his songs. Jimmy Buffett covers “Brown Eyed Girl” and I love that song. 

For my audition, I wanted to find a perfect song. My character starts out not living the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle that other people do in the show.  I wanted to find a song that could relate to my character and I found “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” for my audition which is such an amazing song. So that quickly became one of my favorites. 

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