By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Members of the Players got a unique opportunity on Monday night when Gramercy Park opened its gates for the annual celebration of Edwin Booth’s birthday. The occasion, known as Founder’s Day because of Booth’s role in establishing the club, is one of the park’s oldest traditions and is one of the rare times of year when park-goers are allowed inside after dark.
The celebration for the actor’s 183rd birthday started inside the Players along Gramercy Park, with readings from members about Booth and his contribution to the arts. A group of members also performed a piece of a musical they’ve been working on about Booth’s life. The musical, called “Edwin, The Story of Edwin Booth,” debuted off-Broadway this summer.
Club members later headed out to the park, led by some members carrying lanterns, and laid a laurel wreath on the statue of Booth. Elizabeth Jackson, who organizes the annual event, said that Booth is always honored with a laurel wreath.
“It’s for the victor,” she explained. “It’s celebratory.”
Board member and chair of programming Shana Farr said that the event usually happens on the actual day of Booth’s birthday but since the 13th was on a Sunday this year and the club is closed on the weekends, the celebration was pushed to Monday.