Menu

‘Pilgrims’ explores the immigrant experience with humor, humility

  • Written by Deborah Stone
If you’re in the mood for a quirky, sexy, romantic comedy, ACT has just the answer. Currently gracing the theatre’s stage is the world premiere of local playwright Yussef El Guindi’s latest work, "Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World." Full of sweetness with a hefty dose of goofy charm, this new play reminds us that we are all pilgrims or "immigrants" of one kind or another with much more that connects rather than separates us. The story follows Musa (Shanga Parker), a good-natured Egyptian cab driver who’s lived in America less than a year, as he falls for Sheri (Carol Roscoe), a sassy American waitress with a rough edge and an unfortunate dating history. Complications ensue, while romantic sparks fly.

There are numerous cross-cultural misunderstandings and humorous awkward moments as the pair tries to figure out what they want from one another.

Sheri has been burned before in past relationships and though jaded, she still holds out hope for finding a "real" connection that has lasting power beyond a one-night stand. Musa is trying to acclimate to his American life, which he wants to embrace with gusto, but his emotional baggage, which comes in the guise of familial obligations, continues to get in his way. Like most immigrants, he carries the weight of what he left behind with him and the absence of familiar "touchstones" leaves him without a strong anchor or foothold in his new life.

Three other characters in the play help provide differing perspectives on being a stranger in a strange land. Abdallah (Anthony Leroy Fuller), Musa’s roommate who is away on a pilgrimage to Mecca, appears as an otherworldly apparition, espousing his philosophical views and giving thanks for his success in America.

And then there’s Tayyib (Sylvester Foday Kamara), a streetwise luggage vendor from Somalia who questions Musa’s relationship with Sheri, noting the obvious cultural differences and the difficulty they would present in a long-term situation.

The lovely Gamlia (Kimberley Sustad), an Egyptian American, also enters into the fray, portraying a woman caught between two worlds. Seasoned director Anita Montgomery has assembled a strong, likable ensemble.

Parker’s quiet sweetness is endearing and he makes his character’s struggles real and visceral. You can see how conflicted Musa is, as he tries to balance his faith with the customs of his new homeland. Roscoe’s Sheri is brash and neurotic, but under her crass exterior, she has a big heart. We get to see her vulnerability and come to understand that she, too, like all of the other characters is a pilgrim searching for that special something.

Kamara and Fuller shine in their roles and Sustad gives a finely focused performance, providing depth and richness to her character.

El Guindi’s writing is witty and insightful. His dialogue is conversational and accessible, and he spins a highly entertaining love story while giving audiences an insider’s view of the immigrant experience.

"Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World" runs through July 17th at ACT Theatre. For ticket information: (206) 292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org.

Beer, it’s my opinion!

  • Written by By Toren Heald, Broker, Wedgewood Realty & Beer Lover
Over the Father’s Day weekend I was invited to attend the Washington Brewers Festival at Saint Edwards Park. This event is put on annually by the Washington Beer Commission — luckily not a government agency so a good time was had by all.

With nearly 200 beers on tap there was no way I could have gone through all of them so I had to narrow my selections. As a hop head I decided to spend my time looking for the top three IPAs. I do want to let you know that after two days, Friday and Sunday (had to take a break Saturday), I still was not able to sample all the IPAs. If you are a brewer or consumer who doesn’t agree with me, please note that I may not have had the opportunity to indulge in your favorite, and besides as the headline says: it’s my opinion.

In no particular order these are my top picks:

Silver City Brewery—Bremerton

Whoop Pass IPA

Gallaghers’ Where U Brew—Edmonds

The Magic Bus IPA

Port Townsend Brewery Co.—Port Townsend Triple Dry Hopped Hop Diggidy IPA

Firestone Walker—Seattle,

Union Jack American IPA

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.—Portland, Ore.

X114 Rotator IPA

Alright, so after going over my tasting notes you might have noticed I have more than three favorites from this event — very tough choices. Almost all the beer was great and served up with great brewers and their staffs. I can honestly say that with all the beer I only had one beer that I just couldn’t stomach and dumped out. I highly recommend you attend this event next Father’s Day — oh, and bring dad as well; my dad loved it! You can look it up at www.washingtonbeer.com.

In the event you see these in the store or happen to be close to one of these breweries, grab a pint or two, Cheers!

Music Mid-Week in Mill Creek

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Mill Creek Town Center will again host a free weekly summer concert series every Wednesday from July 6 – August 31th, 6-8 p.m. at The FORUM at Creekside Village (151st St SE & Main Street).

The concert series is a popular family friendly community event, enjoyed by people of all ages.

Concert Calendar

July 6 – Cherry Cherry (Neil Diamond tribute)

July 13 – Ventura Highway Revisited (60s/70s classic hits)

July 20 – Hyah Vision (reggae)

July 27 – Sly Mr. Y (classic rock)

August3– All Mixed Up (80’s tribute)

August 10 – Jake Bergevin & Javatown Swing Orchestra (Big Band era swing)

August 17 – Gold Rush (pop classics from 50s/60s/70s)

August 24 – Bump Kitchen (funk/blues)

August 31 – Crème Tangerine (Beatles Tribute)

For more information, visit www.MillCreekTownCenter.biz.

‘Dearly Beloved’ to open June 3 - WRT looking for a new home

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

 Dearly_Beloved_0036_2

The Woodinville Repertory Theatre will present "Dearly Beloved," a two-act bundle of family dysfunction, faux snobbery and fun in the Texas town of Fayro, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. The show opens with an 8 p.m. performance on June 3 at the Wellington Hills Golf Club, 7026 240th St. SE, in Woodinville.After the opening, evening performances are set for June 4 and June 9, 10 and 11, June 17 and June 18 and June 24 and 25. Performances start at 8 p.m. at the Wellington Hills Golf Club. There will be two Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on June 5 and June 12.

For more information and tickets, check the Woodinville Rep’s web site www.woodinvillerep.org or the theatre’s Facebook page.

This summer Woodinville Repertory Theatre has to relocate to a new location in the Woodinville area. We don’t yet know where, but we are actively pursuing several possible venues. Our ultimate goal is to move into a renovated Old Woodinville School House building downtown once it reopens, with a full complement of stage, lighting and seating options. However, the process of renovating this building is still in the planning stages with the City Council. It could be several years before it is ready.

In the meantime, they must relocate to an interim theater. If you have ideas on where WRT can temporarily set up shop, your ideas and help will be greatly appreciated. Please call (206) 203-4168 (voicemail only) or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your comments and suggestions.

Beer, it's my opinion

  • Written by Toren Heald, Broker, Wedgewood Realty & Beer Guy
WITFor those who know me, I’m usually a hop head and like a bitter beer. But as the weather starts to warm up I start looking for a lighter more refreshing beer that still has great flavor. Redhook has introduced Wit to their seasonal series.

Redhook’s Wit is a refreshing Belgian style wheat beer with a hint of ginger. As Redhook says "Made with Ginger, but still digs Mary Ann." Unlike many other wheat beers that can get heavy, Wit is surprisingly light with some subtle citrus and spice tones but rest assured there are no sharp flavors to disturb your taste buds. This one will be great for all those summer outings. Thanks Redhook, this will be in my fridge this summer. ABV: 5.3% / IBU: 8