In ‘Margaritaville,’ Broadway’s Lisa Howard Finds Strength And Self-Worth

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The winter-weary can get their fill of sun and browse at Broadway’ s Marquis Theatre, where the Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical, “ Escape to Margaritaville , ” opened to a passionate(and woozy )crowd recently.

It ’ s simple to dismiss the Caribbean-themed program– which includes the Buffett classics “ It ’ s Five O ’ Clock Somewhere, ” “ Cheeseburger in Paradise ” and, obviously, “ Margaritaville ” — as escapist dream. one of the stars , Lisa Howard , thinks audiences who dig a little much deeper in the sand will find a genuine message of empowerment and body positivity.

The singer-actress plays Tammy, a beleaguered bride who accompanies her buddy, Rachel( Alison Luff ), to an island resort for a bachelorette week filled with powerful guys and stiff mixed drinks. With each tropical sundown, nevertheless, Tammy concerns whether she ’ ll be content weding her tacky fianc( Ian Michael Stewart )as she succumbs to a sweet-natured bartender, Brick( Eric Petersen ). Real to Broadway musical custom, Tammy ’ s inescapable self-discovery includes a fantastic gown, a high-flying solo number and, obviously, a pleased ending.

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“I believe it ’ s essential to be informing stories that empower ladies, specifically nowadays,”Howard(3rd from left)stated.”When ladies see that shown in art, the more

empowered they’ll feel.”

“ She actually winds up discovering her self-regard, ” Howard informed HuffPost. “ You see her go on that journey. I believe it ’ s crucial to be informing stories that empower females, specifically nowadays, due to the fact that it hasn ’ t constantly been the case. The more examples we, as artists, can revealon the planet, and the ladies see that shown in art, the more empowered they ’ ll feel to speak up, state something, make a declaration and defend themselves. ”

Buffett, Howard stated, was a “ excellent existence ” throughout the advancement of the program. “ It ’ s been an enjoyment to obtain to understand him, ” she described. “ He ’ s sort of like you ’d believe he ’d be. He ’ s really chill, however he ’ s a really wise, enthusiastic business owner. He’ s taken this concept this culture of island life and keep up it. ”

Howard boasts an excellent theatrical rsum that consists of “ South Pacific ” and “ Priscilla, Queen of the Desert . ” The Akron, Ohio, native ’ s movie profession got a substantial increase in 2012, when she looked like a vampire in “ The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn– Part 2 . ”

The trick to her success, she stated, has actually been selecting functions composed for plus-sized females like herself that put on ’ t depend upon a weight-loss story and aren ’ t planned as comic relief. She stated chances for plus-sized stars have actually broadened in both movie and theater in the 18 years because she made her Broadway launching in “ The 25 th Yearly Putnam County Spelling Bee . ”(Witness, for instance, Keala Settle ’ s breakout turn in the film musical “ The Greatest Showman , ” which ended up being a surprise hit this winter season.)

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Jimmy Buffett signed up with the cast of Broadway’s” Escape to Margaritaville”onstage throughout the program’s opening night March 15.

“ I ’ ve simply been blessed to have actually belonged of jobs where my appearances or my size wear ’ t matter, ” Howard, who likewise is a plus-size style design , stated. “ These are lead functions I ’ m playing. I ’ m not simply the amusing partner or the character star. … The variety of the real population, I feel, is being more represented. I ’ m grateful that I ’ m a part of that. ”

Howard is best understood for the 2015 Broadway musical, “ It Shoulda Been You , ” where she played a wallflower bridesmaid who takes her romantic fate into her own hands as her sibling ’ s wedding event prepares decipher.

Many critics saw the funny, directed by “ Frasier ” veteran David Hyde Pierce, as a breakout minute for Howard. Her sultry tune, “ Jenny ’ s Blues, ” was among the program ’ s highlights, and has actually ended up being popular on the cabaret circuit .

Watch Howard carry out “ Jenny ’ s Blues ” on the 2015 Tony Awards listed below.

“ It Shoulda Been You ” offered Howard a signature tune, however the musical had a hard time to discover an audience and closed after simply 135 efficiencies. That experience, nevertheless, required her to check out brand-new, less-heralded worlds. She was welcomed to check out for a workshop variation of “ Escape to Margaritaville ” quickly later.

“ I wear ’ t fit into anybody else ’ s mold, ” stated Howard, who names Mama Rosein “ Gypsy ” as a dream function. “ Sometimes it ’ s simply a matter of determination. You state yes toevery chance, and keep putting yourself out there, so that individuals acknowledge exactly what you need to provide, and where you suit. ”

Regardless of how “ Escape to Margaritaville ” fares with critics, Howard hopes Buffett fans, or “ Parrot Heads , ” will put in the time to take a look at the musical.

“ In spite of the madness worldwide today, I hope they come [to the program] to leave, unwind and delight in an excellent romance, ” she stated. “ You can take with you no matter what you do.”

Lisa Howard stars in “ Escape to Margaritaville , ” now playing in New York.

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From left, “Escape to Margaritaville

“stars Eric Peteren, Lisa Howard, Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan.


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