Late Mayor Frank Rizzo Comes to Life in New Stage Play

How one of the most anticipated shows of the fall theater season came to be.

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Photo by Robert Hakalski

Play readings don’t normally culminate in shouting matches or near-fistfights, but leave it to this world premiere about our controversial late mayor to change that. In May 2014, during a talkback after a reading of the script, one attendee relentlessly fumed at playwright Bruce Graham (The Philly Fan) for going too soft on Rizzo.

“Graham threatened to take him out in the parking lot,” says Best of Philly-winning actor Scott Greer (right), who plays Rizzo in the Theatre Exile production. “That’s how the discussion started.”

Greer, Graham and director Joe Canuso met with everyone from former mayor Wilson Goode to a Rizzo bodyguard to ex-con Vince Fumo to Rizzo right-hand man Marty Weinberg to develop the play, loosely based on Sal Paolantonio’s definitive biography.

“Dramatically, Rizzo is a very boring character, because you know exactly what he’s going to do,” says Greer. “But what’s interesting is people’s perception of him. That’s where the real drama is.”

Mark you calendar. Rizzo plays October 15th to November 8th at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Old City. More info and tickets here