The Players Return to In-Person Gatherings

With reconfigured social and dining spaces and active safety protocols in place, scores of masked Players returned to enjoy the club.

By: Mar. 05, 2021
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The Players Return to In-Person Gatherings The Players, New York's legendary social club for theatre and arts professionals and patrons, has switched off the "ghost light" burning since December at its Gramercy Park home and welcomed members back to the historic clubhouse.

At the same time, the 19th century gas lights framing its entrance-dark for over two years for local utility repair and further delayed by pandemic shutdowns-were rekindled.

"Our ghost light symbolized that the stage was dark, but the show would return," said Players President Michael McCurdy. "As the city reopens and our members gather again, our ghost light will rest and these historic lamps will guide friends to our door."

McCurdy addressed several dozen gathered members from the landmark balcony. As he switched off the ghost light, the gas light flames sprang to life to the surprise and delight of the crowd.

In the theatre tradition, a single-bulb ghost light is placed on stage between performances or show runs. It is meant to prevent injury in a darkened theatre and discourage mischief by any resident spirits. In December, The Players lit a ghost light on its front balcony as a promise to get through dark days of the pandemic surge.

During the recent pause, Netflix released the limited series "Pretend It's a City," with Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz. Each episode featured extensive footage filmed in The Players.

"We had so many inquiries and visitors coming by during this closure," said Eileen Mulligan, Director of Membership and Programming. "Netflix provided a peek inside our home, but seeing the ghost light burning reflected the pledge to our members and New Yorkers that we would be back."

With reconfigured social and dining spaces and active safety protocols in place, scores of masked Players returned to enjoy the club and its legendary member camaraderie.

"This return to our home away from home was fantastic," McCurdy added. "There are many celebrations to come."

Now in its 132nd season, The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive member-only events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and dining in its famous Grill room. More information about The Players may be found at or by emailing