Prince of Providence: Notorious mayor gets stage treatment
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The story of the notorious late Mayor Buddy Cianci, who was forced out of office twice, is coming to the stage.
Trinity Repertory Company in Providence announced on Thursday that it has commissioned playwright George Brant to write a play or musical adaptation of “The Prince of Providence,” the 2004 book detailing Cianci’s tumultuous two decades at the city’s helm.
Bringing Cianci’s story to the theater is a natural step for a man who was often described in Shakespearean terms, said the book’s author, Mike Stanton, a journalism professor at the University of Connecticut and a former reporter at The Providence Journal.
“Politics is theater, and Buddy’s life was a huge drama,” Stanton said in an interview. “Buddy was this larger-than-life persona, and I think it could be a really meaty role for someone.”
Cianci (pronounced see-AN-see) was known for his colorful TV appearances and publicity stunts touting Providence and himself. But he was forced from office twice due to felonies.
He was accused of attacking a man with a lit cigarette and a fireplace log and pleaded no contest to felony assault in 1984 and resigned. He returned to office a few years later, but in 2002 he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison. He died in 2016.
Trinity Rep is a well-known regional theater company that has helped launch the careers of actors including Viola Davis and Richard Jenkins. It said the yet-to-be written script about Cianci, a Republican turned independent, will be workshopped and then produced at Trinity in a future season. It said the cast will be announced later.
Brant is known for plays including “Grounded.”
It’s not the first time Cianci’s life has been adapted to the stage. “Buddy Cianci: The Musical” played at the New York Fringe Festival in 2003.