One of Boston's finest remaining examples of Beaux Arts classicism, the Cutler was built in 1903 as part of the Piano Row Historic District. It is the only known Boston work by John Galen Howard, architect of the Electric Light Tower at the 1901 Buffalo world's fair and founder in 1903 of the California School of Architecture at U.C. Berkeley.
The building was converted to a movie theater in 1956. The theatre closed in 1977, having fallen into disrepair. It was bought by Emerson College in 1983. Phase I of the Renovation and Restoration Project involved exterior restoration of the terra cotta, marquee, stained glass and electric lighting on the façade. It also included interior renovations necessary for theatrical performances. Phase II focused on restoration of the stunning interior detailing to its original Beaux Arts grandeur while upgrading the technology of the theatre to modern standards.