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'On The Waterfront': Gritty Work On New York Docks At American Century Theater

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ARLINGTON, Va. -- It could definitely be a contender.

The American Century Theater is staging its rendition of the Hollywood classic "On The Waterfront," a play (and screenplay and novel) by Oscar-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg.

"On The Waterfront" is the story of union violence and corruption at the New York docks. At its center, former prize fighter Terry Malloy (Jack Powers) must choose whether to maintain his allegiance to the mob or testify against them. Complicating matters, Malloy falls for Edie (Caitlin Shea), the grieving sister of a man Malloy has helped kill. And as the patron of progress, Father Barry (Matt Dewberry) finds himself compelled to stand up for justice in the midst of a largely complicit clergy.

The film is best known for Marlon Brando's signature line "I could have been a contender." The play version has some big differences from the movie version -- and what a fruitcake you are if you don't go check it out, if only to see why these differences have made some critics so mad.

Director Kathleen Akerley leads the American Century Theater's actors and actresses through the play's still-too-resonant themes, using a stage that creaks and moans in a manner evoking the seaside setting.

"On The Waterfront" runs through April 28 at the American Century Theater (2700 S. Lang St., Arlington). Tickets are $30 online or at the theater before showtime.

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