Everybody Get Footloose! with The Abu Dhabi Choral Group


I was a young girl in a Midwestern Baptist town in Illinois. A town filled with old blue haired ladies, dogs that nap in the street and a local preacher who relied upon the generosity of the parishioners for cookies and meatloaf dinners. It was a town not too dissimilar from Bomont. It was a stereotypical farm town upbringing with Levis, boots and beer, and all the crazy shenanigans that bored country kids get themselves into.

My high school crowd could easily be identified as those that would leave our community and those that would stay. In October 1984, just as the corn was harvested from the fields, Footloose came to our uniplex theater and provided those that would leave the hope that even small town rebels with a big city itch could have a future out there somewhere beyond the wheat and the soybean fields.

Fast forward 35 years and I am half way around the world, in the Middle East, at the New York University Arts Center watching a cast of 30-40 expats with a Russell Stovers box of accents, perform Footloose. A movie so Americana that I can smell the hay.

Continue reading “Everybody Get Footloose! with The Abu Dhabi Choral Group”

The Abu Dhabi Choral Group’s “Anything Goes”


Abu Dhabi Choral Group did it again with this year’s performance of the 1934 musical Anything Goes. Packed full of Cole Porter classics, the Anything Goes cast of 35 performing members not only belted out the old showtunes but they also busted out the tap shoes too. In the 6 years I have attended, I must say, ADCG definitely upped the entertainment factor this year with their incredible dance choreography and their flashy new focus on costume design. You really never know what you’re in for because ADCG has undeniably been the best little community theater group in the UAE for 41 years — and that is certainly something for Abu Dhabi to be proud of.

Continue reading “The Abu Dhabi Choral Group’s “Anything Goes””

ADCG’s The Addams Family — snap, snap


They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum
When people come to see ’em
They really are a scream
The Addams Family.


So get a witch’s shawl on
A broomstick you can crawl on
We’re gonna pay a call on
The Addams Family.


 I personally love kooky, creepy and ooky — and apparently Abu Dhabi does too because not only has it been all over the local press, but Monday night’s Addams Family performance was a packed house! (and pssst…alert the tabloids. Even people from Dubai were there. Shock I know!)

In its 39th season, the Abu Dhabi Choral Group is our hometown amateur choral group which masquerades as a theater group — yet they perform like they’re getting paid for it. The ADCG’s diverse membership which spreads the globe with 15+ nationalities gives you your moneys worth in a juggernaut of community talent who all pitched in from the ground up to create the dark comedy that has fascinated so many of us since childhood. ADCG director Cameron Toman chose a hysterical plot line that focuses on Wednesday Addams played by Katy McCants Floyd, who is all grown up and falls in love with the normal everyday guy Lucas Beineke played by Jordan Murray. As we can all agree, blending families isn’t easy, especially when you’re the Addams Family so the production focuses on their attempt to tolerate each other and in the process highlights just how normal kooky people can be and how kooky normal people can be. Parents take note, athough the performance focuses on the creepy and kooky the storyline is family friendly and the comedy will give everyone in the whole family a big laugh. Unless you are repulsed by the word sh%t which was spoken 2 times. Then maybe you should stay home and polish your work loafers or something.

“I took my sister, daughters, and their BFFs to the Addams Family musical. While the Folklore Theater looks unloved from the outside, the inside is cosy. The show was Amazing! The actors knew their lines, the live orchestra, the costumes, and the props and stage….everything was great!” — Louet Colaco

Everyone I know who hasn’t been to an ADCG performance asks the same question, “They’re a choral group…right?”

Yes, by name they are a choral group but in reality they are far, far, more. The ADCG 50+ members have come a long way since 1977 and this multi-talented group seems to have a special synergy (pardon my 80’s word) that sizzles on stage. For example, the incredibly talented Alana Barraj who played Morticia and Shea-Lea Saunders who played Gomez, perform as if they have been on stage together for years. Barraj never disappoints. As in previous performances her vocals make me jealous and her delivery is impeccable, regardless of whether she is playing Elle the bubble gum cheerleader in Legally Blonde or the dark and controlled Morticia Addams — Alana is spot on. My obsession though for the Addams Family production came in a surprise package, and that is the fiery performance delivered by Shera-Lea Saunders. I loved Gomez — loved everything about Gomez. Maybe it is because Saunders created a sexy little sweetie pie Gomez that appeared half Prince and half Ricky Ricardo. The Spanish accent cracked me up and the performance overall was absolutely charming and a delight to watch as Gomez struggled to control the women in his life.

“Watched it on Friday with my girls. Loved it!” — Ghawiya Umm-Julia

“Amazing staging and an innovative take on the Addams Family. Loved the costume design. Do something different this weekend and book your seats. It’s fabulous!” — Teige Osborne

I asked my friend which character was her favorite and she immediately replied, Uncle Fester. Unlike the original Uncle Fester who had a fetish for explosives, the ADCG’s Uncle Fester played by Rami Al Shihabi was a gouly teddy bear. The dark cupid who confessed his undying love for the moon. His smooth melodic voice warmed our hearts and his gentle spirit was definitely a crowd favorite as everyone cheered for his corny plan to follow the moon.

Although I do not have time in this post to give adequate praise for the entire cast and team, the outstanding performances given by each and everyone of the members and the many hours of work dedicated to the set and production did not go unnoticed. And although the Folklore Theater is just what a community theater should be, a weathered and worn old building held together with the dreams of those who may move on to bigger ambitions, and supported by those of us who understand the importance of community Arts, the ADCG deserves a bigger stage. Although, I believe, anything more would take away the grit of doing it for fun.

To wrap up this freaky and kooky review, I have one last thing to confess. When I love something I want you to love it too. And I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed with the Addams Family. Not only is the ADCG a compiled membership of our teachers, employees, and co-workers; and therefore we should support them. It is also such a refreshing change from all of the world class stuff typically offered in the UAE (never thought I would say that…).

When I go see an ADCG performance I feel like I took a Chicago subway to a community theater somewhere in the inner center of the city. And for a change, it feels really nice to witness something so organically creative.

Only two shows left! Get your tickets for the May 19th and 20th shows.

Principle cast members not mentioned but certainly appreciated:

Jenny Murray — Pugsley Addams

Angie Abraham — Grandma

Cat Downing — Lurch

Kathleen Moran — Alice Beineke

Gerard Fee — Mal Beineke

The Addams Family at Abu Dhabi Folklore Theatre, behind Al Wahda Mall, on May 19th and 20th. The Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets prices are 100AED for adults (110 online); children under 12 pay 75AED (80 online).

Visit platinumlist.net or www.abudhabichoralgroup.com for tickets and more information.


Asia de Cuba — Barrio Chino



I should’ve been born in the steamy streets of Havana’s Barrio Chino eating a spicy egg roll and washing it down with a cold minty mojito. I think I would’ve felt right at home dancing the conga or the mambo under the Asian lanterns that light the neighborhood of Havana’s uniquely flavor-fused, sui generis community  known as Barrio Chino de la Habana or Havana’s Chinatown. Which is why you will understand when I tell you that I love Abu Dhabi’s newest restaurant Asia de Cuba. Continue reading “Asia de Cuba — Barrio Chino”

Harem Pants


Harem pants originated in the Middle East and were popularized in the 80’s by M.C Hammer, today they are making a comeback around the world but the truth is, in the Middle East, they never left. Due to the extremely high temperatures these pants are comfortable with their light weight fabric and flowing, breezy design. What’s great about harem pants is that they’re perfect for everyone. When you visit you’ll see harem pants are super comfortable for everyday wear in the UAE.

Here’s how you can sew yours up in a matter of minutes.

Lemon Mint

DSC_2980smallEverybody in the UAE loves lemon mint! It is by far the most frequently ordered drink in the UAE. Due to religious restrictions on alcoholic drinks, you can find some amazingly tasty non-alcoholic versions, and even some new concoctions that will leave you wondering if you really need the added alcohol. Fresh, refreshing and oh, so good! Try the recipe at home.