The Players, a private social club for actors and artists, will present its inaugural Helen Hayes Award to Tony winner Barbara Cook at a gala ceremony September 15 at the club’s Gramercy Park mansion.
Charles Busch will serve as emcee, with performances from Shana Farr, N’Kenge Pacurar, cabaret veteran Steve Ross and opera soprano Claire Coolen, a Martina Arroyo Foundation artist. Composer and music director Josh Kight will accompany the evening’s singers.
Named for actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993), the first female member to be admitted to The Players, the newly established award honors “women who have made an indelible contribution to the American theatre.”
Over the course of her 60-year career, Cook has won Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and was cited as a Living New York Landmark. In 2011 she became a Kennedy Center Honors recipient. Earlier this summer the singing actress released her memoir, Then and Now.
Hayes, who was known through much of the 20th century as "the First Lady of the American Theatre," is one of only a select few artists to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.
“Barbara Cook is a true cultural icon whose transcendent voice has captured the hearts of adoring audiences around the world, from Broadway and Carnegie Hall to intimate night clubs and international stages,” said The Players president Michael Barra. “She is the perfect artist to help us inaugurate this award commemorating the great Helen Hayes, whom we are proud to claim as a member of The Players.”
Founded in 1888 by actor Edwin Booth with 15 other incorporators including Mark Twain, The Players is acsocial club for theatre, television, film, music, and publishing professionals, patrons of the arts, and business and civic leaders.