The Prince of Providence Debuts at Trinity Rep in September

The State Theater of Rhode Island announces a play about the life of the late Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci.

The cover of journalist Mike Stanton’s book, published in 2003 when Buddy was serving five years in the feds for racketeering and other charges.

Buddy’s back.

Today, Trinity Repertory Company announced its 2019-2020 season and, with it, the world premiere of The Prince of Providence, a play based on the book of the same name by former Providence Journal writer, Mike Stanton, on the life and politics of Providence’s late mayor and favorite convicted felon, Vincent “Buddy” Cianci.

Playwright George Brant (of Into the Breeches! and Grizzly Mama fame) wrote the adaptation and Taibi Magar is directing the show, which has a limited run of six weeks in Trinity Rep’s smaller Dowling Theater. The star is TBD, but it’s tough to imagine anyone but Fred Sullivan Jr. in the role. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

Here’s what the theater has to say about The Prince of Providence, which runs September 12 to October 20:

The nation knows him from Crimetown and Operation Plunder Dome, but Providence has a deeper and more complicated relationship with Buddy Cianci. A charismatic visionary who was also a corrupt philanderer, the long-time mayor defied the odds time after time – from his very first election to winning again after being arrested on assault charges. Surrounded by a colorful carousel of characters, Buddy gave Providence many things: some are more visible – businesses, tourism, and relocated rivers – while others are less tangible, but no less real – pride, notoriety, and now, a great story to tell.

In a video announcing the season, Trinity Rep artistic director Curt Columbus says, “Obviously Buddy is a larger than life character. He’s really significant in Trinity’s history. He’s really significant to Providence. And it just seems like the kind of thing that only Trinity Rep could bring to a local audience.”

In the ’90s, when Trinity Rep was struggling with near-insurmountable debt, Buddy stepped in and secured a debt refinancing and restructuring deal to keep the company alive. The former mayor, who also helped the Providence Performing Arts Center stay afloat, pushed for a revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding the theaters, as well. The man might’ve been a crook, but he appreciated great art.

The best way to secure tickets to the show is to subscribe to the 2019-2020 season, which also includes Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat by Lynn Nottage, the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities, August Wilson’s Radio Golf and off-Broadway darling, Fade, by Tanya Saracho. Subscriptions start at $120 for all six plays, plus priority ticketing for the Trinity Rep mainstay, A Christmas Carol.

For more information, call the box office at 401-351-4242 or visit trinityrep.com.

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