Professor who was inspiration for Prince of the City to debut his new play

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Professor who was inspiration for Prince of the City to debut his new play,

co-written by Arlene Violet, at Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Summerfest 2013

KINGSTON, R.I., July 31, 2013 – The Centurion, a play based on the book All The Centurions by University of Rhode Island English professor Robert Leuci, the former New York City police officer whose life was the basis for the film Prince of the City, will make its New York City debut next month as part of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre Summerfest 2013.

Written by Leuci and Arlene Violet, The Centurion is a one-act, two-character play that captures what it’s like to be a narcotics officer in New York City through the eyes of a veteran officer and his younger self. Although Leuci is an accomplished novelist who has also written television and radio show scripts, playwriting was a new experience.

“I am a novelist and being a novelist is a solitary kind of life and work,” Leuci said. “Playwriting is a collaborative effort and it’s an amazing experience working with directors and actors and another writer and a producer.”

Directed by Jeffrey Martin, The Centurion will be performed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre on 42nd Street August 4, 5, 7, and 11. For information, visit:

The final dress rehearsals for the play will be performed this evening, July 31, and August 2 at 7 p.m., at the Roger Williams University Performing Arts Center, also known as The Barn, on the Bristol campus. Admission is free.

Leuci and Violet will attend all of the performances and Leuci is excited to share the experience with his students at URI this fall.

Like the younger cop in The Centurion, Leuci started his 20-year career in the police force as an idealistic, 21-year-old rookie, believing he could only trust his fellow officers. When he was 24, he was transferred to the Narcotics Bureau for undercover work and created a network of field informants and worked on important cases. He entered the Special Investigative Unit of the Narcotics Bureau, an elite unit formed by top detectives, who were described as the princes of the city.

In the late 1960s, corruption was widespread within the NYPD and Leuci would end up exposing corruption and admitting his own part in it. He would share his story with Robert Daley, who would go on to write the best-selling Prince of the City. Director Sidney Lumet and executive producer Presson Allen adapted the book to a critically acclaimed film with actor Treat Williams portraying Leuci’s role.