Providence Follies Mystery Guest Carothers (posted February 26, 2000)

University of Rhode Island President Robert Carothers drew rave reviews last night as the mystery guest performer at the Providence Newspaper Guild Follies, an annual fundraising event organized by the union representing Providence Journal employees. Dressed in a flowing robe and sporting a body pierced by wooden arrows, President Carothers lampooned critics who tried to get him fired and allies whose lukewarm support nearly cost him his job. In line for some of the more pointed jabs were Governor Lincoln Almond, Higher Education Board President Sally Dowling, and departing Brown University President Gordon Gee. Carothers repeatedly drew laughter from the crowd with clever word-plays and barbs at Rhode Island figures.

Among the other highlights of the show were a skit poking fun at the recent marriage between Bruce and Susie Sundlun, who were said to have honeymooned at "Viagra Falls," the cocaine drug use confession of Senator Lincoln Chafee, which boosted the candidate's poll numbers, and Brown President Gee, who was given an endowed chair (a toilet seat) in honor of his decision to go to Vanderbilt University. Also in line for pointed attacks was perennial favorite, Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, whose administration is under federal investigation on corruption charges.

The show also contained numerous jokes as well as serious commentary about the recent labor problems between the newspaper guild and company management. According to newspaper reporters, the Journal has unilaterally imposed give-backs on union employees and failed to extend benefits granted to non-union workers to members of the Guild.