The Players, a private New York City historical social club founded by the renowned Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, held The Players 2nd Annual Artists Exhibition in the the Hampden-Booth Theater library.
Booth and 15 additional incorporators and friends, including author and humorist Mark Twain, Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, and American playwright Augustin Daly founded the Club in the late 1800s. The Players is a warm, welcoming 19th-century brownstone across the street from Gramercy Park, where people from all walks of life, such as theater, the arts, journalism, and commerce, come together.
Surrounded by priceless works of art, theatrical memorabilia, and housing an extensive library that Booth collected, it was Booth’s own words that best described the mission of this extraordinary place.
“We should measure ourselves through personal contacts with others…”
In keeping with the founder’s wish, 25 pieces of artwork were on display, allowing members and guests to mingle as they enjoyed the compositions showcased in the library. Among the renowned artists in attendance was Peggy Kinstler, spouse of famed portrait artist Everett Raymond Kinstler, showing her 24” x 12” photograph entitled “Everett and Friends Viewing Sargent’s ‘The Children of Edward Darley Boit.”
Also in the library was international award-winning artist Dana York, showcasing her 24” x 36” 22k gold, silk ink, glass, and oil entitled “The God of Love,” who spoke enthusiastically with every guest who stopped to admire her talent on display.
Portrait, still life, and landscape artist Trish Savides displayed her 24” x 36” oil on-panel portrait entitled “Randy in Costume” and told those in attendance that she had painted the true-to-life character in one sitting.
Players Michael Gerbino, who is Chair of the Art Committee, and Sarah Ann Rodgers curated the show and welcomed distinguished members, guests, and artists. After an hour and a half of viewing time, they invited everyone to a Meet Your Fellow Players cocktail party.
Several priceless portraits Everett Kinstler painted adorn the walls of the Kinstler Room, and it honored guests to have Peggy in their company. Guests mingled in The Alcove, admired the artwork on the staircase, and casually wandered through the Club’s many rooms, even The Grill, where Mark Twain used to play pool.
Another highlight of the evening, other than the unique art show, was music aficionado Brian Drutman banging the keys on the Noel Coward piano in the Great Hall, with the eyes of all the portraits in the room looking down upon the guests with delight. Among those portraits were of Edwin Booth, John McCullough, William E. Burton as Mr. Timothy Toodles by Thomas Nast, and John Drew by James Montgomery Flagg, to name a few.
Drutman received accolades as a 2022 Hall of Fame Honoree by the Club, and his portrait, painted by Michael Shane Neal, was recently added to the staircase walls. Drutman roused the crowd with several tunes, including Bye Bye Blackbird, Me and My Shadow, and There’s No Business Like Show Business, and attendees sang and danced along.
Dinner and a show featuring award-winning vocalist Natalie Douglas followed. Douglas celebrated the music of Ella Fitzgerald, and Douglas’s powerful voice mesmerized those who remained in the Club.
Many in attendance for this wonderful event would agree the evening was a major success, and all will look forward to the 3rd Annual Artists Exhibition next year.
The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003
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