by Stephanie DeJoseph |

Over 85 teachers and parents boarded two coach buses to see the first preview of the new Jimmy Buffet-inspired musical “Escape to Margaritaville” one night last month.

Although there were plenty of Parrotheads on board (affectionate name for Buffett fans), we were all headed to see a Bay Shore alumnus Mike Millan in his Broadway debut.

Millan, a 2007 Bay Shore High School graduate, worked his way through the theater program in Bay Shore and attended the popular Lynn Clark Summertime Players Theater Troupe.

Even in high school, the directors and staff knew there was something special about Mike. He was often cast in the leads — such as “The Baker” from “into The Woods.”

And he’s made a few return trips to Bay Shore Drama, such as when he choreographed “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” He’s also taught theater workshops for our Bay Shore HS Drama students.

He attended college at The Hartt School of Music and then went on to performing in many Off Broadway shows one being “Piece of my Heart.”

When he heard there was a workshop for a new musical based on Jimmy Buffett’s music he auditioned. He was cast as ensemble. When he showed the first day of rehearsal, was assigned the part of “Jesús,” a tourist of this island getaway.

The musical then went on to The La Jolla Playhouse in 2017. New Orleans, Louisiana, Houston and Chicago before it landed on Broadway. It premiered on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on Feb. 16, prior to the March 15 opening night.

The show has both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics. It takes place in a fictitious island vacation destination and the story of a part-time bartender and part-time singer named Tully, who thinks he’s got life all figured out.

That is, until a beautiful and career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.

The numbers are bold and bright with swinging beach towels and bouncing beach balls. Exactly what we needed to truly “escape” from our everyday lives. Most Broadway shows frown upon audience participation, and it took me until the end of Jimmy Buffett’s most well-known song “Margaritaville “to let go of my rules of Broadway etiquette and sing along: “Salt, Salt, Salt!”

The busload of Bay Shore theatergoers waited patiently outside Mike’s stage door to say hello and get their Playbills autographed by the new Broadway star. He opened the stage door to cheers and chants. He was visibly overwhelmed by the love and support.

Even his fellow cast members of Broadway veterans were pleasantly surprised.

I really recommend you see this fun, talented cast and truly escape the monotony of life for just a few hours.

Click here for tickets. Click here from some video from the Today show.

Photo: Mike Millan and Stephanie DeJoseph outside the Marquis Theatre on Feb. 16.