Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Signature Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's review of The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound


Ed Dixon
Photo by Christopher Mueller.
Actor and playwright Ed Dixon would seem to have had two motives in creating Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, his one-man performance now in the ARK Theatre at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. What starts out as a sweet remembrance of a friend and mentor becomes an attempt to come to terms with the fact that a beloved friend could be capable of unforgivable behavior. The way the 90-minute show is structured by Dixon and directed by Eric Schaeffer, the audience comes away feeling some of the same moral uncertainty and personal loss as the performer.

Schaeffer also designed the set, which places Dixon in a comfortable chair on the dusty stage of an old theater, with Chris Lee's lighting design following the shifts in the actor's mood.

For theater neophytes, George Rose (1920-1988) was a pre-eminent character actor who won Tony Awards in 1976 for his performances as Alfred P. Doolittle in the 20th-anniversary revival of My Fair Lady and in 1986 as the Chairman in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His riotous performance as Major-General Stanley in Joseph Papp's production of The Pirates of Penzance survives in the film version.

Dixon tells of how he first met Rose when they were both in the cast of an early 1970s tour of The Student Prince. As a young performer—and a gay man at a time when gay men were becoming more visible—Dixon found a friend in the older man and reveled in his stories about luminaries from Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud to Katharine Hepburn and Richard Burton, nimbly impersonated by the actor. In Dixon's telling, Rose was ebullient even at his bitchiest, able to maintain an astonishing rapport with an audience while onstage, then coming home to the Greenwich Village apartment he shared with two mountain lions.

Then the raconteur becomes deadly serious as Dixon describes his 1988 visit to Rose's hacienda in the Dominican Republic. He feels uneasy to see Rose living in luxury surrounded by poverty, but his discovery of Rose's relationship with a 14-year-old boy causes an emotional crisis and a breach between them. (Rose was murdered by four Dominican men, including his adopted son, not long after Dixon returned to New York.) Perhaps Dixon's triumph is that he managed to accept the best part of Rose's life, his transcendent talent, and otherwise has moved forward.

Signature Theatre
Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
January 8th - February 7th
Written by and starring Ed Dixon
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
ARK Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, VA 22206
Ticket Information: 703-820-9771 or 1-800-955-5566 or www.signature-theatre.org


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