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The Players Taps Michael Barra as New President

The Players, the city's historic private social club for artists and patrons of the dramatic arts, today announced that theatre producer and media executive Michael Barra has been elected as its new president, building on the momentum of recent efforts that have reinvigorated the famed club.

A member of The Players since 2005, Barra is President of Araca Media & Entertainment, a division of Broadway Production Company The Araca Group (Urinetown, Wicked) that specializes in adapting large media brands to the stage, live television, and digital platforms. Barra joined The Players' board of directors in 2014 as Chair of the club's Managing Committee, where he helped lead revitalization efforts which have put the club back on strong financial footing.

Barra was elected president at the club's annual meeting on Tuesday, June 21. In the same meeting, current club president Arthur Makar, Executive Director of the not-for-profit Fight For Sight, was elected as the club's Chairman. Other newly elected officers include attorney Phil Berg, Treasurer; attorney Clifton Knight at Assistant Treasurer; and event production executive Michael McCurdy, as Chair of the club's Managing Committee. They join existing officers actor Christian Campbell, Vice President; writer/producer Nichole Donje, Vice President; advertising executive Michael Collins, Secretary; and branding and graphics firm owner Michael Gerbino, Assistant Secretary.

The Players was created in 1888 by the actors Edwin Booth and John Drew, along with Mark Twain, General William Tecumseh Sherman, and financier Lawrence Hutton and other notables of the era. Located in the landmark Booth mansion on Gramercy Park, The Players is New York City's oldest social club still based in its original home, a historic mansion on Gramercy Park. Presidents of the club have included Joseph Jefferson, Jose Ferrer, Lynn Redgrave and Timothy Hutton.

Over the past two years under a new leadership team, The Players has also expanded its cultural programming, enhanced its culinary services, made improvements to the building, and broadened the club's membership. Last spring, the club was awarded a Lucy G. Moses Award, the New York Landmark Conservancy's highest honor, for restoring the building's portico and façade, which were originally designed by renowned Beaux-Arts architect Stanford White.

"We have made remarkable progress over the past two years in ensuring that The Players continues to serve as the home away from home for New York City's theater and entertainment community," said Barra. "I am looking forwarding to working with the board on building on that foundation and introducing the club to new generation of New Yorkers."

Founded in 1888 by actor Edwin Booth with 15 other incorporators including Mark Twain, The Players is New York City's premier social club for theatre, television, film, music, and publishing professionals, patrons of the arts, and business and civic leaders. Housed in the Booth mansion, a landmark Greek Revival townhouse on Gramercy Park, The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive membership events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and special dining and cocktail experiences in its famous Grill Room. Presidents of The Players have included Jose Ferrer, Lynn Redgrave and Timothy Hutton.


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