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The Williams Center – Rutherford NJ

The Williams Center in Rutherford NJ is in the building that was originally built in 1922. It was originally known as the Rivoli and boasted a seating capacity of 2,200. The Rivoli presented movies as well as vaudeville. A fire in 1977 destroyed most of the cinema’s original lobby. It was renamed in 2021 for William Carlos Williams.

Beginning in February 2023, the Williams Center began a screening series called Art House Tuesdays, programmed by Michael Olivo, the Williams Center’s artistic director. This series includes the presentation of one silent film every month. I’ve played for most of the silents so far, but they have also had local musicians accompany some of the films. There is a Steinway grand piano in the theater, which is what I play on for the shows. There are photos below of the instrument.

For more details and history, please read the Cinema Treasures entry for the theater.

The piano was built by Steinway in 1911.

Many pianists and performers have signed the inside of the piano over the last several decades.

Some fun selfies in the theater, as well as my view of the screen from the piano.

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