Profiles Performance Ensemble has wisely decided to reopen its quietly successful production of Jane Anderson’s The Baby Dance, an emotionally rich examination of the wide and ever-widening gap between social classes in America. Last fall the subtle staging and honest acting well served Anderson’s wonderfully tight script, about a wealthy Los Angeles couple seeking to adopt a baby and a poor couple living in a Louisiana trailer park who simply can’t afford to feed another mouth. Despite a cast change, the ensemble continues to coax life from this fertile drama. Kerry Richlan is absolutely compelling as Wanda, the loving mother who lacks the resources to provide for her children, bringing out the character’s strengths and vulnerabilities in equal proportion. Every moment she’s onstage Richlan conveys layers of feeling. The Baby Dance succeeds partly because the playwright insists on showing both sides of the story. But in the end I can’t help but feel that Wanda has lost the most, and I’m grateful to Richlan for letting me know her and for making her journey so real. Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, 773-549-1815. Through February 23: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 7 PM. $12.
–Gabrielle S. Kaplan
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Joe Jamraus.