George Rose, a flamboyant English comic actor who was murdered in 1988 in the Dominican Republic under mysterious and scandalous circumstances, is the subject of Ed Dixon’s compact, sentimental and neatly-crafted one-man show “Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose.”
Rose is remembered today for his Tony-winning performances in musical comedies in the 1970s and 1980s such as “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “The Pirates of Penzance” (which was filmed twice) and “My Fair Lady.”
Dixon narrates his unusual experiences and unexpected friendship with Rose from the time they met while appearing in a touring production of an old operetta to Dixon’s last encounter with Rose shortly before the actor’s death.
As Dixon tells it, Rose was a character actor who was a character in real life too. In addition to keeping mountain lions as pets in his Greenwich Village apartment and traveling the country in a Winnebago, Rose was openly gay at a time when that was still rare.
Dixon expertly recreates Rose’s distinctive voice, larger-than-life mannerisms, off-the-color remarks and detailed anecdotes about working with legends like Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton and Katharine Hepburn.
Under the direction of Eric Schaeffer (artistic director of the Signature Theatre in D.C.), “Georgie” works as an intimate personal journey that takes a swift turn from giddy and nostalgic to disturbing and tragic. Dixon, acting as the devoted fan, learns more about his hero and mentor than he ever wished to and ultimately experiences heartbreak.
If you go: “Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose” runs at The Loft at the Davenport Theatre through April 15. 354 W. 45th St., georgietheplay.com.