It was the playhouse in which George M. Cohan scored his first success, back in 1904: in Little Johnny Jones, Cohan, a brisk, cocky flag-waver, offered marching songs for both his country (“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy!”) and his profession (“Give My Regards to Broadway”). Instead, the present owners of the Liberty Theatre have decided to flip the finger to Broadway. As part of the current “renewal” of 42nd Street, the Liberty is destined, it seems, to become an “interactive video arcade.” Since the Yankee Doodle boy departed, the theater has seen Fred and Adele Astaire in the Gershwins’ Lady, Be Good!, and Adelaide Hall introducing “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” in Blackbirds of 1928; but, even in its more recent incarnation as a porno house, its clientele of sad, old, masturbating losers were, in a very real sense, far more “interactive” than the...

 
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