'Tis the Tradition Season

When the holidays roll around, old standbys tumble in

The cast features only one experienced performer, Dorothy J. Morrison, as the wisecracking Quilley, but it is a credit to director Jerry Maple Jr. that the rest of the ensemble certainly holds its own. Kwame Riley does well as the slow-speaking, timid Husband, while the statuesque, striking Amaali turns Lou Bessie into a primping, posing femme fatale. But this production's great find is Carolyn Johnson in the title role. Johnson, who makes her professional debut here, brings an emotional honesty and focus that belie her lack of experience. Let's hope she will be seen again, and soon, on area stages.

Aw, shut yer Trapp!
Aw, shut yer Trapp!


Presented through December 29. Call 305-444-9293.

The Old Settler: By John Henry Redwood, directed by Jerry Maple Jr. With Amaali, Carolyn Johnson, Dorothy J. Morrison, and Kwame Riley. Presented through December 22 at M Ensemble Actors Studio, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami, 305-895-8955.

Actors' Playhouse at Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables

The M Ensemble, which has been producing theater "to promote the African-American culture and experience" in South Florida, picked up a special Carbonell Award last month in recognition of its more than 30 years of arts service. If you haven't dropped by the company's dandy, comfortable space, now is a good time to enjoy this enduring South Florida tradition.

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