All the World’s a Stage Fright: Misadventures of a Clandestine Critic award

“All the World’s a Stage Fright: Misadventures of a Clandestine Critic,” written by Bob Abelman, the Cleveland Jewish News arts and entertainment critic, last week was named a finalist in the 2021 American Fiction Awards novella category. Awards were presented for titles published from 2019 to 2021.

The winner was “Blood and Silver” by Vali Benson and published by Tellwell Talent.

The other finalist was “First Kings and Other Stories” by Ted Morrissey and published by Wordrunner eChapbooks.

Abelman’s book was published by the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company and Gray & Company, Publishers in Cleveland in fall 2020.

Abelman has been with the CJN since 2014. His columns are syndicated to The News-Herald in Willoughby and The Morning Journal in Lorain.

The 128-page book is a fast piece of fiction about a theater critic named Asher Kaufman who 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 because the play will be “As You Like It” and Asher is – as many people are – intimidated by Shakespeare’s plays.

Asher has a mind-numbing fear of Shakespeare. To add to his anxiety, he will be sharing the stage with classically trained actors he has panned in the past and will be performing in front of fellow critics who will take great delight in his likely demise. The fictional memoir will entertain theater fans who have wondered what might be going on backstage during a performance – or in the mind of a theater critic. The book is set in Cleveland, the second largest downtown theater district in the nation after New York City.

The book is available for $14.95 at


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