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This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I’m recording this FaceTime video in the lobby of the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, during the intermission of the new musical, “Escape To Margaritaville.” This is what is called a “jukebox musical” - it folds the songs from a particular artist, in this case Jimmy Buffett, into a narrative and they hope will appeal to longtime fans and newbies alike.

Now, Michael Sansolo and I both have written and talked here on MNB about Jimmy Buffett as a master brander. He’s not the most talented singer in the world, and while his songs are catchy, even he would agree that he’s no Paul Simon or Bob Dylan. Buffett is, however, a terrific showman - he’s an entertainer who believes in giving his audiences a great show, and he’s built his brand into an empire that includes hotels and restaurants and bars, all built around the lure of hanging out ob the beach, sipping a cold adult beverage, and avoiding responsibility, even if only for a few hours or days.

In fact, one of the few venues he hadn’t conquered was the theater - and so for a year, he’s been working on “Escape to Margaritaville,” aided by talented folks onstage and off, playing in La Jolla and New Orleans and Chicago before opening in New York.

This is a good lesson for every business - not to be satisfied with a legacy business, and the importance of trying new things and testing new approaches and trying to find new customers.

To be honest, I think “Escape To Margaritaville” is only partially successful. If you aren’t a Buffett fan, I’m not sure what you’d make of the show. We are huge fans, so we found it to be lots of fun. It isn’t a great musical, but it is a good time, and on a cold March night, that was plenty.

“Escape To Margaritaville” may run a couple of years, or as couple of months, but I’d be willing to bet that I know what its future is. In addition to the inevitable touring company, at some point, it is going to get mounted on a stage in Las Vegas, where Buffett already has a successful Margaritaville restaurant. They’ll cut about 30 minutes out of it, do it without an intermission, and it’ll work just fine … which will end up being another lesson, because sometimes to make something work, you just have to change your latitude and change your attitude.

That’s what’s on my mind, and, as always, I want to hear what is on your mind. Fins Up!
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