OUT PROFESSIONALS INVITES YOU TO THE PLAYERS, THE PRIVATE GRAMERCY PARK CLUB FOUNDED BY EDWIN BOOTH, LEGENDARY SHAKESPEAREAN ACTOR.
On Thursday evening, April 27, you are invited to join Members and friends of Out Professionals for a rare cocktail-hour glimpse inside The Players, a private club founded in 1888 by the famed American tragedian Edwin Booth (center right).
Purchasing a Gramercy Park mansion, Booth commissioned Stanford White, acclaimed architect of the Gilded Age, to turn it into a club “for the promotion of social intercourse between the representative members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, sculpture and music, and the patrons of the arts.”
Members have included John Barrymore, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon and Gregory Peck. In 1989 Helen Hayes became the first woman elected to membership. Recently the club’s roster has boasted Tony Bennett, Jimmy Fallon, Ethan Hawke, Angela Lansbury, Liza Minnelli, Christopher Plummer and Kevin Spacey.
Edwin Booth was portrayed by Richard Burton in Moss Hart’s elaborate 1955 biopic, “Prince of Players.” A bronze statue of Booth as Hamlet presides over Gramercy Park, Manhattan’s only private park. Reportedly the city’s oldest club still in its original clubhouse, The Players was named a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
A few highlights of your cocktail-hour visit:
- The pool table where Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) played pool with other founders of The Players.
- A visit to rooms where actors met secretly in 1913 to form Actors Equity Association.
- A portrait of stage and screen actress Nance O’Neil, whose intense friendship with the notorious Lizzie Borden fueled rumors of a lesbian relationship.
- Edwin Booth’s bedroom, with the skull he saluted in his famous 100 consecutive performances as Hamlet.
- A small portrait of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, Edwin’s younger brother — the only evidence of their relationship that the devastated Edwin would keep.
Booth painting: John Singer Sargent
The Players Club is housed in a stately 1847 Gothic Revival townhouse at 16 Gramercy Park South. Its entryway gaslights are among the few still operational in the city. Subway: 6 to 23rd Street or 4/5/L/N/Q/R to Union Square (a 15-minute walk). Tours of the interior depart at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
Nonmember, $69. Dues-paying OP Member, $49. Wine, beer, soft drinks and gratuity included. Sorry, no refunds or exchanges. Advance registration closes at noon on Thursday, April 27. Pocket a copy of your online receipt; thanks! Business casual. Capacity limited. At the door, if available, cash only.
OUT PROFESSIONALS REWARDS
YOUR MEMBERSHIP SUPPORT!
As a registered nonprofit, Out Professionals relies heavily on Membership support. Enjoy a 12-month Individual OP Membership (new or renewal, your own or a gift) PLUS free admission for one tonight for just $99. (As a dues-paying Member, you may bring a guest at the Member rate of $49.) OP Membership includes free entry to every month’s OP.LOUNGE and discounted admission to our other year-round LGBT programming. Join here — and thank you!