The name River Street Theatre Company is actually shortened from '437 River Street Theatre.'' At the first luncheon for our company, graciously hosted by advisor, Matti Leshem, several ideas were thrown around for a name. Later that month, in a meeting with Robert Carnegie (also an advisor) at his acting school, Playhouse West, he reminded me of a scene we both loved from one of my all time favorite movies, On the Waterfront. Carnegie said, "It should be named 437 River Street (where you go when you tell the truth) because that's when things started to come together for you." In the scene, directed by Eliza Kazan, Rod Steiger threatens Marlon Brando in a taxicab (who has yet to decide whether he will testify against a crooked mob local union) with the line "Well you better make up your mind before we get to 437 River Street!"
There were things in this movie I had never seen before, like Brando spitting after a guy walks past him and calls him a punk, his improvisational fumbling with the uneven table in a bar where he and Eva Marie Saint (Edie) sit, and his unbelievably honest way he lost track trying to count $50. I remember watching his improvisational use of when Edie drops her glove and he picks it up all the while continuing the scene, putting on the glove, sitting in the park's swing seat, all while concentrating on talking to Edie and everything else done is almost unconsciously as if he had practiced it a hundred times. His having to think a moment before answering Lee J. Cobb's question, "How many times have you been knocked out, Terry?" He thinks for a moment like the punch drunk fighter he is playing and says, "Two." There are many other famous choices Brando made giving me a vision and understanding of acting that I have never forgotten. We only hope that the productions here will also have things that audiences will take to their grave.
Once we incorporated as a non-profit and had to add the word "company" to our name, we realized keeping the 437 in front would be too long and may cause confusion to patrons who are seeking online information. We had to choose what would be right for the theatre and the professional name was officially shortened to River Street Theatre Company on November 14, 2014.
437 River Street Theatre Company is a non-profit 501(c)3 theater company.