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A Night Out With | Martha Plimpton

Old Hand, New Hands


A HALF-HOUR after finishing her night’s work in “Pal Joey,” Martha Plimpton walked into the Grill at the Players, a private club across from Gramercy Park.

With her were four “Pal Joey” colleagues – Lisa Gajda, Kathryn Mowat Murphy, Abbey O’Brien and Krista Saab – the female dancers from the Roundabout Theater Company revival of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical, in which Ms. Plimpton is starring at Studio 54.

Ms. Plimpton planned a session of poker – a game some of the dancers had never played, but which she was eager to teach. “We’ve gone out quite a few times,” she said of the group. “We call each other the Tribe. They’re my protectors and guides.”

Ms. Plimpton, 38, has received two Tony nominations – as best featured actress in “The Coast of Utopia” in 2007 and “Top Girls” last year. This season the critics have been more than kind to her portrayal of Gladys Bumps, a singing and dancing floozy with a grudge. She has also been taking some days off and flying to the West Coast to film a comedy pilot for Showtime – “The End of Steve,” with Matthew Perry of “Friends” as an egomaniacal television talk show host and

The Players, founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth and Mark Twain, among others, has long catered to what it calls “members of the dramatic profession.” The Grill’s wall is crowded with portraits of the likes of Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Ms. Plimpton pointed to a picture of the actor John Carradine. “That’s my grandfather up there,” she said. “That’s pretty cool, huh?” (Her parents are the actor Keith Carradine and the actress Shelley Plimpton.)

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