“The single most dynamic person I’ve ever known” says writer-performer Ed Dixon of the English Broadway actor, George Rose. Mr. Dixon turned their complex friendship into the 2017 Off-Broadway play, Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, which won the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance. It was filmed before an audience in that era and it’s now being streamed by TheaterMania for $25.
I raved at the time and later deemed it one of the ten best shows of that year, it’s just as enthralling in this screen incarnation. The combined verve of Eric Schaeffer’s eerie backstage set, his theatrical staging and Dixon’s towering performance are all perfectly preserved by this straightforward presentation. The opening credits are done with illustrative photographs from Rose’s illustrious career. Having seen Rose in several Broadway shows, I again marveled at Dixon’s accurate replications of Rose’s distinctive melodious voice, visual presence and idiosyncratic facial expressions that all delighted long ago audiences.
Highlights include Dixon’s joyous recreations of Rose in My Fair Lady and The Pirates of Penzance, a sad mini portrait of Ray Walston and being transported to the 1970’s NYC acting world when a Hell’s Kitchen apartment could be rented for $70 a month.
They met in the early 1970’s while appearing in a show and became closer in the early 1980’s when Dixon became a voice coach and Rose a client of his. The gay two-time Tony winner kept mountain lions and other exotic animals as pets in his West Village apartment and preferred underage males as sex partners. In 1988, the 68-year-old Rose was brutally murdered in the Dominican Republic where he owned a house by his native adopted son and his family. Dixon would go on to overcome his own personal problems.
Dixon’s sharp writing and grand acting make Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose a compelling dark biographical exploration.
Link to my review of the stage production:
Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose (streaming through July 18, 2021)
Produced by Mary Cossette, David Elliott and Martin Platt
For tickets, visit http://www.theatermania.com
Running time: 90 minutes