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The Ensemblist is an inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer- from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Whether you’re an experienced theatre professional or a passionate fan, The Ensemblist will give you the opportunity to get to know new performers and the great work they do onstage, while also shedding light on some of the hidden innerworkings of the Broadway experience. Created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, SMASH) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), The Ensemblist is the only podcast that shows you Broadway from the inside out. 


"Watching That Magic Happen Has Been Really Exciting."

The Ensemblist

Escape to Margaritaville ensemblist Justin Mortelliti shares how the show has changed - and will continue to change - during its multiple pre-Broadway tryouts leading up to its New York City debut this winter.

Justin Mortelliti

Justin Mortelliti

Wastin’ away in Margaritaville has been nothing but a good time so far. I’ve been with Escape to Margaritaville since its initial production in La Jolla. It’s the first time I’ve experienced being part of a show from the start. Probably the coolest aspect has been watching the creative team of Christopher Ashley, Kelly Devine and Chris Jahnke work together with our cast and writers, Mike O’Malley and Greg Garcia, to form and mold this show into what it is, something we are all very, very excited about.

The changes that have been made since La Jolla are all-around. The vocal arrangements, story line and choreography have all been expanded upon and tightened up in a way that has set the show on fire. They’ve also been able to add some spectacular special effects and surprises. It was really awesome to have such a successful run in La Jolla (breaking all of their box office records) and to allow the audience reaction to feed these changes. Watching that magic happen from a cast member’s perspective has been really exciting. And speaking of the cast, they really got it right with this one. I know that this was such a difficult show for casting to put together because all of the characters in the show are very specific, and what they’ve come up with is an extremely diverse cast that is creative, interesting, talented, fun and FUNNY. We are just rolling around in laughter every day in rehearsal. It has been a blast so far, and I’m sure this fun is translating into the show 100%.

The Broadway company of  Escape to Margaritaville

The Broadway company of Escape to Margaritaville

In my opinion, Jimmy Buffett’s music can best be described as ‘Americana.' Almost everyone has a memory chilling in a bar, at a BBQ or on a beach and hearing the song ‘Margaritaville’ in the background. He represents classic American music to me. This was why it was important to Jimmy and to our producers to share the show with America before bringing it to Broadway. With our pre-Broadway tour we are able to bring the show to the people. The cities of New Orleans, Houston and Chicago were very specifically chosen to kick off our show. Escape to Margaritaville is truly just that, an escape, and I can’t think of another point in my lifetime when the people of our country needed a little escape. This is what Jimmy’s brand has always been. Taking time to relax and enjoy life. Taking a step away from everything else and seeing the beauty around you. Celebrating island culture and the earth and sea. It will be really exciting to bring this show, this message and this escape to different cities in America. There are plans in all cities to raise money for Florida, Houston and Puerto Rico through the show, which is also something wonderful that we are going to get out of this Pre-Broadway tour.

he coolest part about having the La Jolla production followed by a 3 city tour is that by the time we open on Broadway we will be carrying the love and energy from audiences across the country with us which will be truly magic. I hear that our theater is already prepping the Margarita machines.

Justin Mortelliti (left, with company members from  Escape to Margaritaville )   

Justin Mortelliti (left, with company members from Escape to Margaritaville)


Listen to our episode on Out of Town Tryouts here.