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The Prince of Providence

By George Brant
Based on the book The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton

PLEASE NOTE: All in-person productions at Trinity Rep have been delayed, with an anticipated return to production in fall 2021. More information about upcoming shows will be announced at a later date. Read the full announcement about the pause in production here.


One of the most tragicomic figures in modern politics – and the city he transformed.

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.

See more from the 2019 world premiere production.

Spoiler Alert!


Below is a synopsis of the show. You've been warned.

The year is 1972 and a young Vincent “Buddy” Cianci is trying to decide whether or not he should run for mayor, or buy a boat.

When current and longtime Mayor Joe Doorley starts to lose the democratic vote, Buddy decides to run as an “anti-corruption” candidate, and a Republican, to take on the seat of mayor in Providence, Rhode Island.  It’s going to be a challenge since he’s Italian and Providence politics has long been in the realm of the Irish. One thing he has going for him, though, is that he’s an up-and-coming prosecutor in the city who took on the mob. Soon after, Buddy and his new wife, Sheila, with their baby girl Nicole, are on the campaign circuit, trying to meet everyone in the city before the polls close.  With the help of some well-known people of the city’s underbelly, Cianci wins, defeating Doorley.

Being mayor is no walk in the park. With so many people calling in favors, and a strike on his hands, Buddy is dealing with a lot. One night, while out with one of his mistresses, Buddy’s wife Sheila catches him in the act. He begs her to stay – to think of his political career – and she agrees that they will divorce after his reelection campaign as mayor. After another four years, and another campaign, the two call it quits. It’s then that Buddy finds out that while the two were getting divorced, Sheila had an affair of her own.  Furious, Buddy invites the man – Ray DeLeo – over to his home for a little chat. The results of that meeting cost Buddy his job, but not his career.

Time jumps and the year is 1990. Buddy, now a popular radio talk show host, is on the air discussing the mayor of Providence, who he wants out of office –Mayor Joseph Paolino.  He’s then visited by his daughter, Nicole, his girlfriend Wendy, and his friend and campaign manager, Mickey, who all are trying to convince Buddy to run for mayor again. After some prodding, Buddy agrees, runs, and wins the seat of Mayor for a second time.

During this time, Buddy’s love of his city brings about many changes for Providence. He opens WaterPlace Park, brings the Providence Bruins to town, and catches a show or two at Trinity Rep. However; it’s during this time that Buddy is once again brought to trial – this time for corruption. A conviction would once again kick him out of office and potentially land him in federal prison.


George Brant
Mike Stanton