There’s more than one path to a Reader recommendation. For example: Griffin Theatre’s Kin makes irrational fear relatable with its humane portrayal of an agoraphobic woman, while Hell in a Handbag Productions finds hilarity in a legitimate source of terror with its musical sendup of child beauty pageants, Sexy Baby. Both received the coveted backward R.
Tony Adler called The Iceman Cometh “great in its excess” when he reviewed Robert Falls’s Goodman Theatre staging of it 22 years ago; seeing Falls’s new version, he’s impressed by its comic structure. Circle Theatre takes a pleasantly surprising turn away from its usual formula of crowd-pleasing musicals and comedies with When the Rain Stops Falling, a sensitive, layered portrait of a family that spans two continents and four generations. Debra Ehrhardt takes a different approach to international relations in Jamaica Farewell, her one-woman memoir about getting to Miami with help from a nice CIA agent. For dance this week, Laura Molzahn likes the collaborative performance involving Muntu Dance Theatre and DanceWorks Chicago.