Bob Ari is a veteran stage and tv actor who resides in New York City. His stage credits include RED (Mark Rothko) and Frost/Nixon (Nixon U/S) and his tv career spans back to 1981 where he appeared in Diff’rent Strokes. Bob has also made appearances on Cheers, The Jeffersons, ER, Cagney & Lacey, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and most recently on CBS’ The Good Wife.
Back in March, I had the opportunity to meet Bob Ari after a performance of RED at Cleveland Play House. We talked theatre for about half an hour and I can tell you that Bob is one of the nicest actors I have ever had the pleasure of meeting! I was so excited to learn that Ari would be returning to Cleveland to star in CPH’s Lombardi. I immediately set up an interview.
I asked Bob how he managed to land two starring roles in a 6 month period at Cleveland Play House. He said, “I saw both shows (RED and Lombardi) on Broadway…When I saw RED I said ‘that’s my part!’ I said, ‘I’m playing that part!’ and I did. It was a career highlight for me.” He continues, “I did RED here in the spring, and opening night I went up to Michael Bloom, the artistic director at Cleveland Play House, I sort of said, wringing my hands, ‘ooohh, so you’re doing Lombardi?’ and he said, ‘Yeah. Listen, I’ve already thought about it, you’re on the list.”
Ari is playing larger than life football coach Vince Lombardi, I asked him how he channeled such a legendary figure. “Well, the first thing you do is stop thinking of him as a legendary human being and think of him as a human being, period. What you try and do is find the things that make him human, the contradictions, the opposites, and you play them.” Check out the full interview below:
Bob Ari stars in Lombardi, running now through October 7th at Cleveland Play House in the state-of-the-art Allen Theater. Grab tickets and information at ClevelandPlayHouse.com.
Bob clearly enjoyed our interview…a lot!