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  On the Waterfront at Gunston Arts Center

On the Waterfront

Gunston Arts Center
2700 S. Lang Street Arlington

The stage version of Schulberg’s screenplay for the 1954 movie classic about union violence and corruption on the New York docks. There are many differences from the film that won 8 Academy awards, but all the vivid characters, speeches and drama remain, with some surprises in store for fans of Elia Kazan’s masterpiece.

Presented by American Century Theater

Thru - Apr 28, 2012

Box Office: 703-998-4555

  On the Waterfront Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

City Paper - Recommended

"... The one that Kathleen Akerley has directed for the American Century Theater has a couple of good things going for it, and they’re both wearing collars. Matt Dewberry plays Father Barry, the agitating young priest who tries to convince dockworkers to stand up to the thugs who’ve seized control of their union. This is much more Farther Barry’s story than the movie was; arguably, he’s the central character here rather than Terry Malloy, the bum who coulda been a contendah, etc. Bruce Alan Rauscher is intriguingly double cast as Father Vincent, Father Barry’s well-meaning but meek superior (who doesn’t appear in the film at all) and Johnny Friendly, the silver-tongued mobster who runs the rackets. Their performances have a drive and clarity that elevate a production in which the acting is otherwise uneven and the artier conceits—the dockworkers who enter the scene from under the stage like roaches; the one who wraps his own head in newspaper —meld awkwardly with the naturalistic goings-on. There’s also a reporter—perhaps a stand-in for Malcolm Johnson, whose Pulitzer-winning investigative series “Crime on the Waterfront” inspired Schulberg’s script—who sometimes addresses us directly but other times remains on stage as a silent-but-still-distracting observer."
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Chris Klimek

Washington Times - Recommended

"...Aside from the initial character confusion—mostly a matter of budget, we suspect—American Century’s production of On the Waterfront is a real eye opener. Those who love the movie will be astonished as its variance from the play become apparent. Those not familiar with the film can enjoy the play in its own right as a gripping period piece whose lessons are not lost even today."
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Terry Ponick

Washingtonian - Recommended

"...In many ways, On The Waterfront has the feel of a conventional mob drama, but the play has substance to it. It's heartening to see Father Barry's rapid, indignant transformation from meek priest to fiery activist. Shulberg's work deftly balances idealism and cynicism to create a story that can be inspiring at points, but doesn't wrap things up so neatly that the results are unrealistic. Akerley's treatment plays up the drama, with ominous percussion underscoring scene changes and a smoky, elevated set, where characters sometimes crawl up from underneath, or sink below when killed. The play's heavy double-casting (eight of 11 actors tackle multiple roles), though, can cause some confusion, despite visual cues (if not costume changes) indicating a change in character."
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Missy Frederick

ShowBizRadio - Recommended

"... On the Waterfront is a play well worth catching at TACT, despite my quibbles here. The eternal story of conscience, loyalty and martyrdom still resonates in our contemporary times of moral ambivalence. This is The American Century Theatre mission."
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Genie Baskir

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