Originally a cinema, it later became the Yiddish Art Theatre with 1100 seats. In the late 1930s, it reverted to showing films.
In 1953, it became an off-Broadway theatre. In 1965, it was a burlesque house. In 1969, it returned to use as a theatre.
There was a second Phoenix Theatre (also known as the Phoenix 74th Street Theatre). It was originally the East 74th Street Theatre. It had 400 seats. It was renamed Eastside Playhouse in 1968.
It is currently a cineplex housing 7 screens. In addition to the original main auditorium, there are 4 screening rooms in the basement and 2 stacked on top of each other on the former stage.
The lobby and main auditorium were restored in 2010.
In 1980, the interior of this theatre was used for scenes in the film The Fan, which starred Lauren Bacall and was released in 1981.