All the World's a Stage Fright

Misadventures of a Clandestine Critic: A Novella

Bob Abelman


A critic takes an acting role with a top-tier theater company in a stunt to boost readership and gets more of a story than he bargained for. Despite a debilitating Shakespeare phobia, he must share the stage with actors he’s panned in the past and avoid getting panned himself by fellow critics. Vivid, realistic, behind-the-curtain action.

Published in partnership with Cleveland Jewish News.

Softcover / 128 pages / 5.5 x 8.5 in.

ISBN: 9781938441974


“Funny. Utterly delightful. Totally believable. . . . A hilarious, but true-to-life, glimpse into the madcap and magical process of putting on a play.” —John Rubinstein, Tony Award–winning actor (Pippin, Ragtime)

When a local critic takes an acting role with a top-tier theater company in order to write about the experience, he gets more of a story than he bargained for.

“An irrational, overriding, mind-numbing fear.” That’s how Asher Kaufman describes his relationship with Shakespeare—not what you might expect from a veteran theater critic. So when Asher learns he’ll be trying out for As You Like It, he realizes this assignment will be a very bumpy ride.

What starts out as a stunt to increase readership for the Cleveland Jewish Chronicle becomes one man’s personal battle with the Bard and ends up a laugh-out-loud tale full of twists and turns, endearing characters, and behind-the-curtain action.

How will this clandestine critic overcome his lifelong fear—while sharing the stage with actors whose past performances he panned (and without getting panned himself by his fellow critics)? It’s enough to give anyone opening night jitters!

This fictional memoir will delight theater fans who have ever wondered what might be going on backstage during a performance—or in the mind of a theater critic.

Published in partnership with

Additional information

Weight.425 lbs
Dimensions5.5 × 8.5 × .3 in

Softcover, Softcover (Autographed)

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