Mike Stanton’s classic biography of one city’s felonious mayor is now a celebrated stage drama.
If you know Providence, Rhode Island, politics, you probably have a story about Buddy Cianci. The city’s charismatic mayor was as famous for his indiscretion as for his corruption. His is a story easily told large, as was
done in 2003 by Pulitzer Prize-winning Providence Journal reporter Mike Stanton ’79 BA (PSc). Stanton’s book, The Prince of Providence, was a New York Times bestseller and featured on the podcast Crimetown,
also about Providence corruption.
Now, the book has been adapted into a play, mounted by the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence. This September, it opened to sellout audiences, standing ovations, and rave reviews. The Boston Globe said it “plays like a cross between The Last Hurrah,
Prizzi’s Honor, and Citizen Kane.” The Times said the play “deftly captures the Tilt-a-Whirl sweep of Cianci’s life.” Broadway and a movie are contemplated.
Meanwhile, Stanton, now a journalism professor at the University of Connecticut and fellow with the Globe’s Spotlight investigative team, turned his attention to another commanding figure: undefeated heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano. Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World,
published by Henry Holt, won best book awards from the Globe and the Wall Street Journal. Stanton says the book “opens a window into a lost era in America involving immigrants, urban America, and postwar changes that roiled society
after World War II.”