His Idol Fell, and He's Telling the Tale

Ed Dixon in "Georgie"

Ed Dixon in "Georgie"

Ed Dixon faces the terrible legacy of a real-life friend

How do you create a show about one of the wittiest and most beloved character actors in Broadway history –about a friend and inspiration – who also had a terrible secret life that ended in a lurid killing?

That was the challenge actor-writer Ed Dixon faced when he wrote about George Rose, a two-time Tony Award-winner who was murdered in 1988.

Dixon had written about Rose in his 2012 memoir Secrets of a Life On Stage...And Off, but it wasn't until the book was published that a friend suggested Dixon's relationship with the actor would make a compelling piece of theatre.

"When he said that, it was like a gong going off," he recalls. He immediately began writing, and nine days later he had a draft of Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, his solo show that is playing through April 15 at The Loft at The Davenport Theatre."It was so painful losing a friend so violently that I couldn't deal with it at first," Dixon recalls. "And then there was the sordidness."

Rose was fatally beaten in the Dominican Republic by his 18-year-old adopted son and three other men, who attempted to make the murder look like a car accident.

Dixon visited Rose on the Caribbean island shortly before the murder, and he was horrified to discover Rose's penchant for young boys and his visits to a house of child prostitution. Dixon said he immediately returned home to New York, shaken to his core. Before he left, however, he witnessed a harrowing incident that could have been a precursor to Rose's eventual murder.