Margaritaville: The Cookbook
Filled with recipes that bring the flavor of island living and the spirit of Jim
About 10 months ago, I was in New York casting the role of Tully Mars, the lead in my upcoming musical, Escape to Margaritaville. It debuts this month in New Orleans, where I started my singing career nearly 50 years ago, and heads to Broadway next March. While the show is not based on my life, it is chock-full of songs I wrote in the early years, when I was a singer playing in Key West bars and all along the Overseas Highway. Once in a while in the audition process there will be a performer who, by his or her entrance into the room, tells you that this is the one you are looking for. Enter Paul Alexander Nolan wearing a Hawaiian shirt, a pair of flip-flops, and a guitar strung across his back.
Once Paul had the part, he was full of questions about how to approach the songs and how to play Tully. My answer was simple: “You need to become him.” So we decided to send Paul to “bar-singer boot camp” in the Florida Keys. Stage performers are used to a silence in their workspace, while bar singers thrive in a cacophonous racket. Performing in a funky, loud Keys bar was something I felt Paul needed to experience.
So off we went to the Green Turtle Inn, in Islamorada, a place that was on my song line from past years. On March 7, 2017, along with about 150 bar patrons, we all came together to witness Paul Nolan’s debut as a bar singer, including a few duets with yours truly. I’m proud to say that Paul was a quick learner and graduated from “boot camp” with flying colors. Now we just need to work on his tan.