STEVEN SOMKIN, WRITER
General: After leaving the practice of medicine, Steven Somkin has written nine full length and four one-act plays. His work has been produced Off Broadway, and has had many readings in a variety of venues (Second Stage, Neighborhood Playhouse, Hudson Opera House, Blue Heron, Arclight, Irish Arts, New Dramatists). Four of his last five plays, including Melissa’s Choice, address some aspect of environmentalism. For several decades he wrote for the pharmaceutical industry in diverse formats, including film and video. He is a founder and artistic director of the Golden Squirrel Theater.
Awards: Steven’s play Chico Mendes Dead and Alive, about the man considered by many to be the world’s first environmental martyr, won the Whitebird competition for plays about the environment and received a developmental grant from the Pilgrim Project, an organization that supports works with ethical messages; a monologue from the play, Darci’s Report, won second prize in The Short Grain competition sponsored by Grain, the Canadian literary magazine. Videos written for drug companies won 13 industry awards, both national and international.
Publications: His monologue, Dear John, was published in 100 Monologues From New Dramatists (Mentor Press, 1989) and republished in The Ultimate Audition Book: 222 Comedy Monologues, 2 Minutes And Under (Holding Publisher, 2005).
Organizations: Steven belongs to the Dramatists Guild and is an active member of PIP (Plays In Progress), a writers’ group that meets monthly at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson, NY, where the current version of Melissa’s Choice was developed. He is an alumnus of The New Dramatists and The Lark Play Development Center, and for the last five years has been a script reader for Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA. He is a co-founder with the late Jill Claster of The Greek Geeks, a small band of intellectual misfits that meets monthly for dinner and discussion of classic Greek plays.
Domestic: Steven is married to Naomi Spatz, who is General Manager of Golden Squirrel Theater and the creator of Teachers’ Night on Broadway and Kids’ Day on Broadway (collaborations of The United Federation of Teachers, The Broadway League and TDF). Steven and Naomi live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Lenox, MA.
The May 5, 2015 edition of The Jewish Week featured an interview with correspondent Ted Merwin: “Overpopulation may pose a dire threat to the planet, but how often does it factor in a woman’s decision about whether or not to have a baby? In Steven Somkin’s new play, “Melissa’s Choice,” a feminist Jewish attorney finds herself caught between her principles and her desire to procreate.” (Read the full interview)
The May 15, 2015 publication of Women’s Enews featured an interview with Maham Javaid: “When I wrote the [Melissa’s Choice], I didn’t see it as a feminist play or a feminist argument…. For me, the most important question is what is love and where does love fit into all of these decisions? Melissa has to figure out what love is and whom she loves in order to make these decisions. Love is the key to unlocking the ability to make a decision. (Read the full interview)
MEL COBB, DIRECTOR
Mel Cobb (Director/Clyde Clark): Member of American and British Actors’ Equity. MA in Drama/Theatre University of Hawaii. Fifteen years in London helping rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe. Theatre, television & film in U.S. and U.K. including work with N.Y. Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare’s Globe London, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox MA. Presently Producing Artistic Director of Worcester Shakespeare Company.