The Players, frequently referred to as the Players Club, is a social club founded in New York City by the noted 19th-century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, who purchased an 1847 mansion located at 16 Gramercy Park. During his lifetime, he reserved an upper floor for his home, turning the rest of the building over to the Clubhouse. Its interior and part of its exterior was designed by architect Stanford White. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1962. In 1989, women were invited to become fully participating members. The Players still maintains its entryway gaslights, among the few remaining examples in New York City.
The Players serves as a social club but is also a repository of American and British theatre history, memorabilia, and theatrical artifacts. Today, it still holds "Pipe Nights" honoring theatrical notables, and maintains a kitchen and wine cellar and a billiard table in its usually busy Grill room. In the Dining Room, filled with portraits of theatre and film notables and rare playbills from the 19th and 20th centuries, a small stage has been built where members and people of the theatre can be honored; staged readings can take place and new works tried out.
The Players also gives the prestigious "Edwin Booth Life Achievement Award" to actors who have had a long, important body of theatre and film work. Past recipients include Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Garson Kanin, Christopher Plummer, Jason Robards, Jack Lemmon, and Marian Seldes. In June 2007, Angela Lansbury was the recipient, and Edward Albee received it on September 30, 2007. The Players Club is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight.