BONUS EPISODE

Buddy Cianci... The Musical

  Buddy Cianci: The Musical  pitted FBI agent Dennis Aiken against Mayor Buddy Cianci. Buddy's toupee also had a few moments in the spotlight during the show.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

Buddy Cianci: The Musical pitted FBI agent Dennis Aiken against Mayor Buddy Cianci. Buddy's toupee also had a few moments in the spotlight during the show. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

In 2003, a couple of Brown University alumni did the unthinkable: they wrote and performed a musical about everyone’s favorite criminal mayor. No recordings of the play exist today. So, as a holiday gift to Crimetown listeners, we’ve asked some friends in the musical-theater business to resurrect this forgotten classic.

LISTEN TO BUDDY CIANCI... THE MUSICAL


The Soundtrack

Jonathan Van Gieson wrote the book and lyrics for Buddy Cianci: The Musical, and Mike Tarantino wrote the music and lyrics. Crimetown recordings of the songs produced by Nikita Burdein. Arranged and recorded by Dan Reitz at Dan Reitz Studios. The soundtrack cast: Michael Lutton as Buddy Cianci, Ali Reed as Nancy Ann Cianci, Christian Paluck as Dennis Aiken, Nikita Burdein as Tony Freitas, Brian Hansbury and Elizabeth Slack as Department of Public Works Employees. Additional characters performed by Joe Leonardo, James Bruffee, Lane Kwederis, Kiki Mikkelsen, Matt Giroveanu, Chris Bell, and Daniel Tepper. Keyboards, trombone, guitar, bass and drums by Dan Reitz. Saxophone and additional horns by Stefan Zeniuk. Trumpet by Dan Brantigan. Cover design by Rob Szypko; illustration by Jonathan Van Gieson.


The Mayor Stops By

 Jonathan Van Gieson, far left, first met Buddy Cianci, center, at a house party in college. The party was themed after WaterFire, a major art installation created in downtown Providence in the 1990s, and so Van Gieson's friends decided to invite the mayor.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

Jonathan Van Gieson, far left, first met Buddy Cianci, center, at a house party in college. The party was themed after WaterFire, a major art installation created in downtown Providence in the 1990s, and so Van Gieson's friends decided to invite the mayor. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

You know it was this gag: you’re at college, you invite the mayor to your party. Of course you do.
— Jonathan Van Gieson

Buddy Takes on the Fringe Festival

 Van Gieson held auditions for the play, but he ultimately decided to give the lead role of Buddy to David Stern, a friend from high school, in part because of Stern's resemblance and receding hairline.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

Van Gieson held auditions for the play, but he ultimately decided to give the lead role of Buddy to David Stern, a friend from high school, in part because of Stern's resemblance and receding hairline. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

 The musical's ten actors performed a number of roles, including David Ead, the tax assessor who was caught laundering money in the Plunder Dome case.    Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

The musical's ten actors performed a number of roles, including David Ead, the tax assessor who was caught laundering money in the Plunder Dome case. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

There was this whole bunch of possibility. You could write a musical about pee and then you’d be on Broadway. We thought, you know what’s better than pee...is Buddy Cianci.
— Jonathan Van Gieson
 In promoting  Buddy Cianci: The Musical , Van Gieson did not shy away from the former mayor's convictions. He even made an unsuccessful request for the federal prison system to release Cianci for a day to see the show.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

In promoting Buddy Cianci: The Musical, Van Gieson did not shy away from the former mayor's convictions. He even made an unsuccessful request for the federal prison system to release Cianci for a day to see the show. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.


MIXED REVIEWS

 Buddy Cianci was in prison during the musical's run. Nonetheless, the former mayor was enjoying a moment of renewed interest at the time. Mike Stanton's book  The Prince of Providence  was released the same year.   Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

Buddy Cianci was in prison during the musical's run. Nonetheless, the former mayor was enjoying a moment of renewed interest at the time. Mike Stanton's book The Prince of Providence was released the same year.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

The show garnered interest back in Providence, with many of the key figures from the Plunder Dome trial still fresh in the minds of local journalists. Courtesy of WPRI.

 The reviews for the show were mixed, according to Van Gieson. Since its six-show run at the Fringe Festival,  Buddy Cianci: The Musical  has not been performed since.  Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.

The reviews for the show were mixed, according to Van Gieson. Since its six-show run at the Fringe Festival, Buddy Cianci: The Musical has not been performed since. Courtesy of Jonathan Van Gieson.


EPISODE CREDITS

Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier, in partnership with Gimlet Media. This episode was produced by Nikita Burdein, Rob Szypko and Austin Mitchell. The senior producer is Drew Nelles. Editing by John White, Soraya Shockley and MR Daniel. This episode of Crimetown was mixed by Kenny Kusiak.

The credit track this week is Rosaleen Eastman’s special holiday rendition of our theme song, Goat’s “Run to your Mama.” Ad music is by Matthew Boll. Thanks to Julia Heymans, Emily Wiedemann, Mike Stanton, Dan Barry, and everyone who shared their stories with us.