You can hardly make a wrong choice if you want to go to the theater this weekend. Four of our topnotch local theaters have opened shows, and every one of them is worth seeing. My top recommendation — in part because it has a short run (its final performance is Sept. 21) — is Conor McPherson's SHINING CITY at New Stage Collective. It's a riveting psychological drama, mostly about two men struggling with lives (and deaths) and relationships: One of them is a psychologist, the other a patient, but their existences overlap and mirror one another in intriguing and imaginative ways. McPherson is a masterful writer of monologues, and the NSC cast features Randy Bailey in several speeches that will leave you marveling at his ability to tell a story and reveal character. Don't miss this one.
Other good choices are Peter Shaffer's AMADEUS, the classic tale of musical and creative rivalry between Wolfgang Mozart and Antonio Salieri (Cincinnati Shakespeare, through Sept. 28); the quirky musical GREY GARDENS, a true story about a mother and daughter, onetime bluebloods but reduced to strange dependency and squalid circumstances in a 28-room mansion (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, through Sept. 28); and a new musical, JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA, a re-creation of one of the beloved novelist's best works in a show that fans of the 19th-century novel are likely to love (Cincinnati Playhouse, through Oct. 3).
Don't wait: There are good shows on just about every stage in town.
– Rick Pender