Bob Abelman, The News-Herald

Bob Abelman

The News-Herald

United States

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Past articles by Bob:

Live theater returns, thanks to Akron’s Ohio Shakespeare

Live theater has returned to Northeast Ohio, albeit abridged, revised and socially distanced. → Read More

‘Great Performances’ recording of ‘The King and I’ performance truly great

The final installment of recorded-live theater favorites currently being offered on PBS’s “Great Performances” is the sumptuous 2015 Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic 1951 musical “The King and → Read More

PBS’ ‘In the Heights’ documentary captures thrill of live performance

Amidst its recent offerings of recorded-live stage revivals of “She Loves Me,” “Present Laughter” and — coming at 9 p.m. Aug. 21 — “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I,” → Read More

Great Lakes makes most of twists, turns in ‘Sleuth’

More often than not, classic thrillers come across as glass-encased museum pieces to today’s theater audiences, what with their arthritic wordplay, creaky plot twists and archaically excessive exposition spouted by → Read More

Beck Center masterful with difficult, racially charged ‘Scottsboro Boys’

As they did with “Chicago” and “Cabaret,” composer/lyricists John Kander and Fred Ebb manage to combine social consciousness and moral indignation with high entertainment in “The Scottsboro Boys,” on stage → Read More

Lakeland Civic Theatre’s Iffy ‘If/Then’ serves up some what-ifs

Playwright and lyricist Brian Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt have turned self-reflective self-disclosure into a musical-theater artform of sorts, first with their 2008 Tony Award-winning “Next to Normal” — a → Read More

Actors wonderful in brilliant playwright’s ‘Intimate Apparel’ at Ensemble

Seeing the name Lynn Nottage on the playbill for Ensemble Theatre’s “Intimate Apparel” should be enough to tell you the simple story slowly unfolding on stage is more than it → Read More

At Dobama, Morisseau’s ‘Skeleton Crew’ a compelling look at working class

Cultural anthropology has never been more probing or poetic than Dominique Morisseau’s aptly titled “Skeleton Crew,” a case study of the working-class conscience teetering on the brink of extinction. It → Read More

Clague Playhouse’s ‘Heroes’ overcomes weaknesses thanks largely to three-man cast

French playwright Gérald Sibleyras’ “Le Vent Des Peupliers,” which has been translated into English by British playwright Tom Stoppard and retitled “Heroes,” is a modest work affectionately referred to as → Read More

Handing out awards for the year in Northeast Ohio theater

Every year, local professional theater companies devote themselves to putting on the best shows possible. Although some companies have deeper pockets, more Actors’ Equity contracts or a grander facility than → Read More

These were the most memorable 2019 moments in Cleveland theater

When we reflect back on a live theater production, it is often a specific moment that we recall — an instant when a playwright’s idea, a director or designer’s vision,= → Read More

Women rule in Cleveland Play House’s funny-but-poignant ‘Into the Breeches!’

George Brant’s “Into the Breeches!” does what good comedies do — it offers sugar-dusted social commentary that, in its current Cleveland Play House staging, finds audience’s laughing uproariously through the → Read More

Men do real work in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ at Beck Center

David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Glengarry Glen Ross,” on stage at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, is a most intriguing play. For it possesses no characters we → Read More

One-woman show ‘Woody’s Order!' at none too fragile emotional but not engrossing

“Every woman has a one-woman show in her,” says Oprah Winfrey in a recent issue of her mothership magazine, O. → Read More

Porthouse’s take on nostalgia-filled ‘The Music Man’ bound to sing a smile onto your face

Is there a better time than now to escape to Meredith Willson’s musical comedy safe-haven of River City, Iowa, in 1912? And is there a better place to do it → Read More

‘Man of La Mancha’ at Porthouse delights with classical staging, fine acting

Earlier this year, there was an utterly charmless revival of “Man of La Mancha” in London’s West End that was set in modern-day surroundings and featured in the title role → Read More

‘King Lear’ at Beck Center boasts fine acting, some questionable directorial choices

“Nothing will come of nothing,” says Lear, the elderly king of England, when his favorite daughter refuses to dote on him the way her opportunistic, two-faced older sisters do. And → Read More

In none too fragile's 'Two,' a couple of performers give master class in heartbreak

Pubs are great places to set a play. → Read More

Pulitzer-finalist ‘Gloria,’ from brilliant Jacobs-Jenkins, underserved by Cleveland Public Theatre

Donald Trump tweets that the press is “dangerous and sick” and the “true enemy of the people.” He may be right if Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Gloria” — a 2016 Pulitzer Prize → Read More

'Sherwood' is more Ken Ludwig magic from Cleveland Play House

The Cleveland Play House’s love affair with Tony Award-winning contemporary playwright Ken Ludwig continues. → Read More