What You'll Do
Ghosts wander the corridors of The Players Club—and their sibling rivalry changed the course of American history. As you sip on bathtub gin and hobnob with the mansion's sundry fortune-tellers, burlesque performers, and jazz bands, you'll catch revealing glimpses of the spirits of Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth and his brother, John Wilkes Booth. Both were members of the Club during their mortal spans, and their fraught relationship will shed new light on what may have actually motivated the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Immerse Yourself in Turn-of-the-Century Elegance
Wander a period-perfect recreation of The Players Club in its heyday, complete with live jazz, burlesque, and period-appropriate cocktails.
Witness a Secret Side of History
As you roam the mansion's rooms, you'll encounter a series of performances that reveal unsettling aspects of the Brothers Booth, such as Edwin's interest in the occult and the unseemly theories about John Wilkes' mummified corpse.
Rub Elbows with 1919's Cultural Elite
Throughout the evening, you'll interact with a cast of illustrious personages that include club president John Drew, John Singer Sargent, and other people named John.
Each event is capped at 100 participants; each event requires a minimum of 1 participants in order to take place.
Cynthia Von Buhler
Playwright and Creator of Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth
Like all good mysteries, Cynthia von Buhler's career as an artist, performer, playwright, and author began with a murder—her grandfather's. When speakeasy owner Frank Spano was shot by a neighborhood barber in 1935, the case was inexplicably dismissed, its true motivation a riddle that would haunt the family for decades. Taking a page from 1940s detectives, Cynthia recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama using all the autopsy reports and municipal records available. That diorama garnered the attention of the New York Times and blossomed in 2010 into Speakeasy Dollhouse, an immersive theatrical staging wherein the actors and showgoers were the "dolls." Among those dolls have been Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Edgar Oliver, and others.
Originally intended as a one-night affair, Speakeasy Dollhouse extended its run multiple times to keep up with its perpetually sold-out status. Cynthia Von Buhler has followed up this success with Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, an equally immersive production that posits a surreal, Shakespearean conspiracy behind Lincoln's assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth—fueled liberally with live jazz, burlesque, and moonshine.
Where You'll Meet
On the top floor of The Players Club, you can peek into the bedroom of Edwin Booth—a preeminent Shakespearean actor and brother of assassin John Wilkes Booth—and still smell his tobacco. Edwin co-founded the gentlemen's club in 1888 with a handful of other turn-of-the-century moguls, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Booth's bedroom has remained untouched since his death in 1893, and the Club—set in a Greek Revival townhouse facing Gramercy Park—is modeled after London's Garrick Club.
When You'll Meet
The event takes place from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on the following date:
- Saturday, March 1