Alison Luff is happy to be introducing Chicago audiences to the exciting new musical production featuring the compositions of Jimmy Buffett.

Luff stars as character Rachel in "Escape to Margaritaville," which opened in previews Thursday at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. The musical will enjoy a three-week run in the Windy City prior to heading to Broadway next year.

"Chicago is unique as a theater community," Luff said, adding it's also a perfect town for testing out shows before they head to Broadway.

The musical was in development at La Jolla Playhouse in California over the summer and also played for a brief time in New Orleans before heading to Chicago for its official pre-Broadway engagement.

The actress said "Escape to Margaritaville" is a special show.

"It has a great message. It's a boy-meets-girl love story and a romantic comedy but it's about friendship as well," Luff said.

"Escape to Margaritaville," featuring Buffett's popular tunes, is directed by Christopher Ashley. Its book was written by Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley. Choreography is by Kelly Devine.

Luff said she has long enjoyed Buffett's music and said it's an honor to be working with the musician.

"He's a joy to work with and so much fun. It's important for him that we're having a good time (on stage)," Luff said, adding Buffett has definitely had much input on the show as it was being developed.

"He's put a ton of trust in the creative team (and the actors),"  Luff said.

The actress, who has starred in a number of Broadway and touring productions, said she's been interested in the theater art since she was a child. "I can't imagine myself doing anything else," Luff said.

Luff has starred in the Broadway revival of "Les Miserables," where she was Fantine. She also performed as Miss Honey in "Matilda," and as Elphaba in the first National Tour of "Wicked."

In addition to Luff's acting endeavors, she and her husband Matt Magnusson formed the singing duo The Bones. They founded the band in 2015 and write and perform various original compositions.

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.