A friend of actor-writer Ed Dixon came up to him after a reading of a new solo work he had just written and performed and said flatly: “You can’t tell this story.”
Dixon was stunned but then thought, “But It happened to me and it’s my story.”
At first the work Georgie, seemed straight-forward and innocuous enough. It was a solo show about Dixon’s years-long friendship with two-time Tony Award-winning actor George Rose. It was filled with amusing and slightly bitchy backstage theatrical anecdotes with Dixon doing a spot-on imitation of the British character actor who was murdered in 1988 in the Dominican Republic.
But how do you do a show about one of the wittiest and most beloved actors on Broadway—his award-winning performances were as Dolittle in My Fair Lady and in The Mystery of Edwin Drood—who also had a terrible secret life that ended in a lurid killing?
It wasn’t the first time Dixon, a regular at Connecticut theaters for decades—most recently in Sweeney Todd at Connecticut Repertory Theatre at UConn—had written about his friend. Dixon’s 2012 theatrical memoir Secrets of a Life On Stage…And Off talked about Rose and his shocking death.
But reading about it is one thing. To perform it on stage in front of an audience is something else, especially when Rose’s life story turns deadly dark. Rose was fatally beaten by his 18 year-old adopted son and three other men, who attempted to make the murder of the 68 year-old actor look like a car accident.
Dixon, who has tweaked his show since its successful off-Broadway run, will perform his Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose on Friday, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m. as part of the Cabaret and Performance Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford.