overview

Opened in 1904, the Liberty Theater staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Julian Eltinge, Clyde Fitch, Oscar Wilde, Cole Porter, W. Somerset Maugham, Lynn Fontanne, and Laurette Taylor, among others.

From 1933 to the mid-1980s, the venue served as a movie theater and, in 2000, the building became part of the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and was later part of the Ripley’s Odditorium museum.

Header Photo
Credit: Jay Shockley/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2022.

History

The Liberty Theater opened in 1904. Productions here by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers included:

 

In 1933, the Liberty was converted to a movie theater, which it remained until the mid-1980s. In the 1990s, a Hilton Hotel was erected above the theater. In 2000, the building became part of the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and was later part of the Ripley’s Odditorium museum. Part of the main entrance on West 42nd Street is visible, as is the auditorium façade on West 41st Street, and part of the auditorium is intact.

Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (December 2022).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Herts & Tallant
  • Year Built: 1904

Sources

  1. Internet Broadway Database.

  2. “Liberty Theatre,” Wikipedia (accessed December 8, 2022), bit.ly/3FLsgSf.

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