Chicago, IL – It was a night like no other in the Windy City, and for me, an unforgettable call. In 2017, I received an exhilarating invitation from Broadway in Chicago to photograph the curtain call of the hit musical “Escape to Margaritaville.” Little did I know this would become a cherished memory and a testament to live theater’s magic.
As the curtain rose on that evening, I was excited to capture the cast’s final bow in all its glory. But what happened next was beyond my wildest dreams. The theater filled with thunderous applause, and there he was – the legendary Jimmy Buffett, joining the cast on stage. The energy in the room was electric, and I knew I was witnessing something special.
But the surprises didn’t end there. Just when I thought the moment couldn’t get any better, Lin-Manuel Miranda, another titan of the stage, made a surprise appearance alongside Jimmy Buffett. Together, they brought an entirely new dimension to the show, infusing the refrain of “SALT, SALT, SALT” with an unforgettable flavor. It was a rare and magical collaboration that left everyone in the audience in awe.
At that time in 2017, both Jimmy Buffett and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) had their own shows in Chicago, making this crossover all the more delightful. It was a testament to the vibrant and interconnected world of theater, where talent knows no bounds.
As a photographer, I often wrap up my work after capturing the actors’ bows. However, on that fateful night, something compelled me to keep my camera ready. I’m eternally grateful I did because I managed to capture a remarkable image of Jimmy Buffett almost skipping off the stage. At the time, I knew my client might not use it for PR, but today, it’s a treasure that reminds me of that unforgettable night.
With the recent passing of Jimmy Buffett, this image takes on new meaning and significance. It’s a reminder of his incredible contributions to the musical world and his ability to transport us to a sun-soaked paradise with his music. But beyond the music, Jimmy Buffett taught us all to slow down and savor life’s simple pleasures – a philosophy that resonates even more deeply now.
So, as we bid farewell to a musical icon, let’s celebrate Jimmy Buffett’s legacy and the joy he brought to our lives. His surprise appearance at “Escape to Margaritaville” in 2017 was a testament to the magic of theater and the power of music to bring people together. Thank you, Jimmy, for the memories, the music, and the reminder to live life to the fullest.
Rest in peace, sir, and may your music continue to inspire us to escape to our own Margaritavilles, wherever they may be.
Photography by Amy Boyle 2017