The members of the New York Drama Critics Circle elected Newhouse Newspaper Syndicate reviewer Michael Sommers president for a one-year term at their Thurs., Oct. 26 meeting. Sommers is the New York critic for New Jersey's largest daily, the Newhouse-owned Star-Ledger, as well as a former editor of Theatre Crafts (now known as Entertainment Design) and a former reporter and critic for Back Stage.
The association of 20 first night print journalists has given awards for the best American play and best foreign play since 1935, predating the Tony Awards by a dozen years. Previous Circle presidents include John Mason Brown and Brooks Atkinson.
Sommers also serves on committees that select recipients of the Clarence Derwent and Theatre World awards. He attended West Chester University in West Chester, PA, and moved to New York from the Harrisburg area in March, 1979, the weekend of the nuclear reactor meltdown at nearby Three Mile Island. He reviewed for Back Stage for eight years, and said in an interview last week that Tom Griffen's "Einstein and the Polar Bear" was the first Broadway show he critiqued, and that he didn't like it.
Last month, Hyperion Publishing released his first novel, "Gene Marshall: Girl Star," an authorized biography of a fictitious actress, co-authored with Mel Odom.