Edwin Booth was the most famous, respected and celebrated actor of the 19th century. The Players Club was his mansion on Gramercy Park, which he donated as long as he could live on the upper floor. His apartment is still there, exactly as he left it. There's even a skull someone donated to him for his performances of Hamlet, which was his most famous portrayal.
The Master of Ceremonies was David Staller, who produces the fantastic Shaw Project there at the Players. Jim and I were sitting with Keith Merrill, who produces a wonderful Noel Coward themed series of play readings. There were several speakers who told the story of Booth. Particularly, the shame he felt after his brother, John Wilkes, did that thing that he did at Ford's Theater.
|Nichole Donje reading "Edwin Booth's Youth by his sister Asia Booth Clarke and William Winter.|
|Jim Brochu read "The Curse of Rome" by Laurence Hilton,|
a story about the power of Booth's acting.
|Keith Merrill and Steve Schalchlin in front of a portrait of Booth.|
Then, David Copeland read "On Edwin Booth's 104th Birthday - Nov. 13, 1937" written by Player Edgar Lee Masters.
Nowadays, society people appear on reality shows.