MILK LIKE SUGAR Kirsten Greenidge’s drama about a teenage girl reconsidering the pregnancy pact she made with friends showcases the Boston-area playwright’s knack for creating characters as complex as the choices they face. When combined with Greenidge’s great ear for dialogue, skill at crafting compact plots whose stakes are clear and high, and overarching gift for empathy, the result is a dramatic window onto how people talk and behave as they battle against the constraints imposed on them by circumstance. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Through Feb. 27. Huntington Theatre Company at Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org
RENT A 20th anniversary production whose kinetic energy and gritty spirit underscores the life-and-death urgency of Jonathan Larson’s musical about friends and artists struggling to get by in the face of the AIDS epidemic and the threat of eviction. Director Stacey Stephens draws forcefully committed performances from his young cast.
Through Feb. 21. Fiddlehead Theatre Company at Back Bay Events Center, Boston. 617-514-6497, www.fiddleheadtheatre.com
Don Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.