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Orange native returns with Escape to Margaritaville

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

A woman who danced on the Luther Theater stage at 3 for recital, returns as a professional dancer 20 years later as part of Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville on Saturday, December 7.

Sophie Braud, 23, a Little Cypress-Mauriceville graduate, began dancing when she was enrolled at Lorna Badon School of Fine Arts when she was 2 ½ years old. She is also a graduate of the Ann Lacy School Of American Dance and Arts at Oklahoma City University.

“I was there literally my whole life,” Braud said. “I was there from 2 and a half thru age 18.”

It was in those classes and on the stage of the Lutcher Theater where Braud found her inspiration and dream to become a professional dancer. Now, recently turning 23, she is set to return to the very stage where the dream began in her first National Broadway tour debut.

“Lorna inspired and pushed me to be the best I could be through all the opportunities she gave me,” Braud said. “I was at dance more than home with the recitals, solos and jazz company.”

Braud credits Lorna Badon School of Fine Arts for her passion for dancing and her career.

Since childhood, I have been awestruck and inspired when I would attend live theatre. I remember going home with giddiness and inspiration in my heart,” Braud said.  “On stage, I give 100%. I feel complete happiness of self when I am dancing.”

While this is Braud’s first National Broadway Tour, it is not her first musical.

“It did not come easy. I worked hard and learned lessons along the way,” Braud said.

Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville, written by Emmy winning Greg Garcia and Emmy nominated Mike O’Malley, is the musical comedy getaway featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and many more.

“Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley molded Jimmy Buffet’s songs into the show,” Braud said. “It is one of the most high energy shows available now. It is a fun ride with a few surprises.”

Escape to Margaritaville stars Chris Clark as Tully, Sarah Hinrichsen as Rachel, Shelly Lynn Walsh as Tammy, Peter Michael Jordan as Brick, Rachel Lyn Fobbs as Marley, Patrick Cogan as J.D. and Matthew James Sherrod as Jamal/Ted.

Based on the original direction by Tony Award-winner Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), this production is under the helm of Amy Anders Corcoran (Freaky Friday). 

Choreography is by Tony Award-nominee Kelly Devine (Come From Away), with associate choreography by Andrew Turteltaub (Escape to Margaritaville); scenic design by Walt Spangler (Tuck Everlasting); costume design by Paul Tazewell (Hamilton); lighting design by Howell Binkley (Hamilton) and Amanda Zieve (Titanic); sound design by Brian Ronan (Beautiful) and Craig Cassidy (Cirque Dreams); and wig, hair & makeup design by Leah J. Loukas (On the Town). Orchestrations are by Michael Utley (License to Chill), with dance music arrangements by Gary Adler (Avenue Q). Music supervision & arrangements and additional orchestrations are by Christopher Jahnke (Porgy and Bess), with music direction by Matthew Smedal (Clueless: The Musical). 

Casting is by Binder Casting/Chad Eric Murnane, CSA.

“The show offers intense dancing and singing,” Braud said. “It is entertaining while showing off all of his music.”

Braud added she can’t wait to return home to see everyone.

Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville is at Lutcher Theater on Saturday, December 7, 2019. Tickets start at $55 and are on sale now at lutcher.org or by calling the Box Office at (409) 886-5535.