Frozen and Escape to Margaritaville are both launching national tours in the fall of 2019, even though the Broadway shows are performing at opposite ends of the charts.
“Frozen” North American Tour Launches in Fall 2019
Frozen may have only been running on Broadway for just over 3 months, but Disney Theatrical Productions has already announced a North American tour. Starting in the fall of 2019, Frozen will begin its tour in Schenectady, New York, before then officially opening at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. While it has not yet been announced how long the show will remain at the Pantages, chances are it will stick around for long enough for Los Angelinos to sink their teeth into it. While some touring productions pass through the Pantages for just a short while, others take over for a long time. For instance, when Wicked finally made it to the Pantages in February 2007 (after it had been running on Broadway since October 2003, and on national tour since March 2005), it stayed there all the way until January 2009. The strategy taken with Frozen appears to be different, as the producers are bringing the show to Los Angeles just a year and a half after it began on Broadway. Still, they may want to keep the Los Angeles appetite hungry, as they don’t want to take away from opportunities for West Coasters traveling to New York to consider Frozen among their Broadway plans. It’s a delicate balance between bringing the show where it’s wanted, and keeping the Broadway production alive. Further dates and cities, as well as casting for the tour, are yet to be announced. As for the Broadway production, Frozen has earned three Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Wiith a book by Jennifer Lee, the show has music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, based on the Disney film written by Jennifer Lee and directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. The show is directed by Michael Grandage and choreographed by Rob Ashford.
“Escape to Margaritaville” to Hit the Road in October 2019
Around the same time, another currently running Broadway musical will launch its national tour. In October 2019, Escape to Margaritaville, the Jimmy Buffett musical, will begin touring performances at Rhode Island’s Providence Performing Arts Center. Before coming to Broadway, the musical went on a mini tour as means of try-out, stopping in La Jolla, Chicago, New Orleans, and Houston before opening at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre in March 2018. Featuring a book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley and directed by Tony winner Christopher Ashley, Escape to Margaritaville is a showcase of the songbook of Jimmy Buffett, the musician and entrepreneur who has a huge fanbase of devotees all over the country. Therefore, in contrast to Frozen, Escape to Margaritaville may actually find greater success on the road than in New York. As for the Broadway production, the show earned negative reviews and received no Tony nominations. On average, the show has been bringing in just 42.31% of its box office potential, as per the figures up until this past week ending May 20, 2018. Nevertheless, there are many Parrotheads, as Jimmy Buffett fans are called, all over the country. There is even a well-known term for the children of Parrotheads: the Parakeets. The term was first coined at a 1985 Jimmy Buffett concert at the Timberwolf Amphitheater in Cincinnati, Ohio. Buffett often attributes his fame to his city, and therefore it will be a prime stop on the tour for Escape to Margaritaville. Buffett also owns two restaurant chains. The first is called Margaritaville, with the original location in Key West, Florida, and now with dozens of locations from Jamaica to Las Vegas to the Cayman Islands to Atlantic City to Minnesota to the Bahamas. Catering to both islanders and middle America, Buffett is a demonstrated success in towns all over the country. The national tour for Escape to Margaritaville is therefore certainly a worthwhile endeavor, even if the Broadway show is not doing as well as the producers would have hoped.