WORCESTER (CBS) — First, they nabbed the PawSox, now this: a show called “Made In Rhode Island” is currently being made in Worcester.
And that’s just the way the creators like it.
Producers came up with the story idea three years ago, sitting at a cigar bar and wrote it down on napkins. “I had 14, 15 napkins. I came in one day, threw them on the bar and said, ‘what are we going to do with this?'” said executive producer David Weinberg.
The answer was, let’s make a show with an interesting premise. “Cheers meets Shameless meets The Sopranos,” explained Langston Fishburne, one of the lead actors.
It’s a comic drama, a dramedy. Langston Fishburne is Lawrence Fishburne’s son.
“Working with all the cast and crew has really been a joy. Everybody’s been very sweet, which is rare,” Fishburne said.
But wait, the title is Made In Rhode Island. Why Worcester?
“Well, for tax credit purposes. Everything is about the budget,” said film director Tracey Anarella. She said Rhode Island’s film credit budget was dry, but Massachusetts ponied up. “And it was much more conducive to our shooting here than it was in Rhode Island.”
Fishburne said, “Yes, Rhode Island will be the setting, but so much of it happens inside, it can look like anywhere. I’m just glad we’re doing it here as opposed to California.”
Most of the five-day shoot happened at Worcester’s Grille 57 which was made to look like a cigar bar and home to a cast of colorful characters.
“They came in, they started looking at the location, they really liked it,” said Peter Stathoulopoulos, a Worcester dentist, who owns the restaurant. The filmmakers also used his dental office building to shoot several other scenes. “Between the two locations it worked out perfect for them,” he said.
“Yeah, we love it. We love it here,” said Weinberg.
The filmmakers hope Made In Rhode Island will be developed into a television series.