Built by Oscar Hammerstein I, the theatre boasted a roof garden (Paradise Roof Garden) which adjoined the Victoria Theatre next door. David Belsaco took over in 1902, remodelling the auditorium and renaming it. When he built his own theatre, the name reverted back to the Republic.
In 1932, Billy Minsky used the house for burlesque. When Mayor LaGuardia banned burlesque in 1942, the building became a cinema, showing second-run movies. In the 1970s, it became Times Square's first adult movie theatre.
The theatre was restored and re-opened in 1995 as a legitimate off-Broadway house.