Barbara Cook will be honored by The Players with the first Helen Hayes Award.
Barbara Cook will be honored by the Players with the first Helen Hayes Award.
(© David Gordon)

The Players, a private social club for theater professionals, has announced plans to present Broadway's Barbara Cook with its first-ever Helen Hayes Award. She will receive the award at a gala ceremony, emceed by Players member Charles Busch, at the Players' historic mansion on September 15.

Named for legendary actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993), the first female member ever admitted to the Players (in 1988), the newly established award honors women who have made an indelible contribution to the American theater.

Cook starred in the original Broadway productions of Candide, She Loves Me, and The Music Man, for which she won a Tony Award. Over the course of her 60-year career, Cook has also won Grammy, Drama Desk, and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. She has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2011 she became a Kennedy Center Honors recipient. Earlier this summer Cook released her memoir, Then and Now.

The ceremony will showcase a lineup of Players members, including Shana Farr, N'Kenge Pacurar, and Steve Ross. The evening will also include a performance by opera soprano Claire Coolen, a Martina Arroyo Foundation artist. Composer and music director Josh Kight will accompany the evening's singers.