Alison Luff on beach towns and Buffett songs

Alison Luff is an actress who is no stranger to the stage – on Broadway she has played Fantine in the revival of LES MISERABLES on Broadway, Miss Honey in MATILDA, and toured the nation as Elphaba in WICKED. Now her theatrical adventures bring her to San Diego, and even more exciting, the tropical island that is the setting of ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE.

As Rachel, the lead in this musical Alison gets to play a character trying to change the world, flirt with a handsome singer named Tully (played by Paul Alexander Nolan), and sing some of the most beloved song by Jimmy Buffett.

Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan in ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE – photo by Matthew Murphy
Alison was able to answer a few questions for me in between her crazy schedule of rehearsals leading up to opening night.

How familiar were you with Jimmy Buffett and his music prior to this show?

My parents would take me and my bothers on long road trips when I was a kid and Jimmy provided the soundtrack. Actually, one of my earliest memories is walking around in the Florida Keys and hearing a Jimmy Buffett cover band blasting out of a bar. So I guess Jimmy and I go back a ways.

In a theatre town that is also a few minutes from a beach, in a show the beach – what’s your favorite thing about being in a beach town?

Aside from the super friendly people and the laid back vibe, most definitely the beach itself. I go just about every day.

What can you tell us about your character?

Rachel is an extremely career driven woman, who believes she can change the world for the better with her ideas. She has come up with an alternative energy source, using biomass, “something that will give back to the environment, instead of destroying it.” Rachel believes in hard work and efficiency. I love getting to play Rachel every night because she is a combo of brains, fun, feminism, independence, romance and vulnerability. Girl Power!

What are some of the fun and some of the challenges of working on a world premiere musical?

I would say the fun comes from the challenges! There are constant changes being made daily while working on a world premiere, and as an actor you are always getting new lines/new songs thrown at you. However those changes are also the fun part. They force you to be in the moment and listen. Changes keep you on your toes. Our director Christopher Ashley and book writers Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley have brilliant, open minds and are always molding/writing the character to the strengths of the actor which is a luxury that really only comes with creating and developing new works.

What is your favorite thing to do prior to a show and during intermission, particularly on 2 show days?

Before the show every night I usually take about 5-10 min “getting in the space.” I spend that time on stage before the house opens. It helps settle my nerves and get my fidgets out. I thoroughly enjoy the cast girl time that comes with intermission. Casting and the creatives have put together an awesome group of people and we are usually getting into all sorts of shenanigans, any opportunity we get. In between shows on two show days I love nothing more than eating dinner with my husband on the beach.

Going to a tropical island, or sipping a tropical drink might be some people’s guilty pleasure, but what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

French Fries with a side of chocolate

If you want to follow Alison on her adventures through Margaritaville, or as a part of the singer/songwriter duo The Bones you can follow her social media as well!

· Twitter handle: @AlisonLuff

· Instagram Handle: @AlisonLuff

The show has been extended through July 9th so catch Alison and this show before it’s gone! Tickets, show times, and more information on special events can be found at www.lajollaplayhouse.org

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