I wrote three entire musicals, book, music and lyrics while I was still in high school, (Can you say, "Uber Nerd?") and won the NATS contest while attending Oklahoma University on a Lew Wentz Scholarship. At the conclusion of his NATS audition I sang a song cycle of my own compsition. (All my friends told me this was a VERY bad idea.) But that's what won me a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in Voice and Composition.
My first composition produced in New York (in 1978) was a review entitled IDENTITY AND OTHER CRISES in which I starred with Sigrid Heath, accompanied by the esteemed pianist Steven Blier.
My second venture in New York was a mini-musical entitled HOTEL BROADWAY which played at The Silver Lining on restaurant row and featured the cabaret debut of the inimitable George Rose. (George was my dear friend and mentor from the time we first met on the national tour of THE STUDENT PRINCE in the early seventies.)
Shortly thereafter came the much more serious work, OLIVER QUADE which I based on the seven scenes of the requiem mass and premiered at the American Jewish Theater. I played the title role. (A musical based on a requiem mass was my idea at that time of a "commercial" project.)
Around this same time, I did a number of cabaret acts. My cabaret debut was at the renowned Mickey's on East 54th. (Mickey said to me, "So, venn are you doink your club echt?" I said, "I don't have a club act." He said, "So... venn are you doink it?" This first act was a collection of songs from the 1930's entitled MOSTLY 30'S. This led to my first solo recording of the same title.
I then opened Caroline's with an act of my own original music called NIGHTSONG. It was a set of romantic songs in numerous languages. Five, I think. (This I also thought was "terribly commercial." Well, maybe for Nana Mouskouri.)
In 1987 I debuted my most ambition work to date, SHYLOCK, an operatic adaptation of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, adapted and composed by... me. I also undertook the title role (What was I thinking?) and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Leading Performance in a Musical. The other nominees were Colm Wilkinson, Robert Lindsay and Mandy Patinkin. (When I first got the call, I thought it was a put-on. Didn't even know I was eligible.)
That same year, I became a visiting professor at Carnegie-Mellon University and while teaching there, they produced my adaptation of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY, called PORTRAIT.
I then adapted five early short stories of Willa Cather into a through composed musical called CATHER COUNTY. It debuted at Playwright's Horizons and was then picked up by Lyric Stage in Dallas where it won a Leon Rabin Award for best new work and was voted one of the ten best events in Dallas for all of 1998.
While working at Playwright's I wrote THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM which also transferred to Lyric Stage and NORMA, a one woman play which the remarkable Carole Shelley performed at Playwright's.
During this period, I was contacted by the esteemed Playwright, A. R. Gurney and asked to adapt an early Gurney play into a musical. (The phone rang one afternoon and the great A. R. Gurney... otherwise known as "Pete" said, "Hey Ed, you wanna do a musical with me?" "Uh... yes." I replied.)The result was RICHARD CORY which won a Steinberg Grant, went to Lyric Stage where it was nominated for a Leon Rabin Award and was chosen for the O'Neill Conference and the Premieres Series at Lincoln Center.
In 2006 RICHARD CORY was accepted by the NYMF Festival where it won the Festival Prize and the Audience Award. Lynne Wintersteller received a Prize for Best Actress in that production.
Also in 2006, FANNY HILL, a musical which I had previously debuted at the Goodspeed Opera made its New York City premiere at the York Theatre. It received two Drama Desk Nominations and one Dramalogue Nomination. It won two Dean's List Awards. Nancy Anderson, in the title role, received a nod as Best Actress in a Musical.
Later in 2006 I and the marvelous Lynne Wintersteller debuted a newly rewritten version of my play, SCENERY, at the Mason Street Warehouse. (An earlier version had bowed at the John Drew Theater with the spectacular Marilyn Sokol and Clive Revell.)
In January of 2007 my new muscial, A PARK AVENUE CHRISTMAS recieved a reading on the new works series at The York Theatre. It along with FANNY HILL, RICHARD CORY and SCENERY were picked up by a new licensing company called MIRACLEOR2.COM and they are all available for stock and amateur productions across America.
The New York Law Journal: Beth Caton
"Bravo to the York Theatre Company... Mr. Dixon's music is beautifully written and lovely to listen to... breathtaking... brilliant... magnificent... awesome... gorgeous... lavish..."
New York Post: Clive Barnes
"The composer, librettist and principal performer is a versatile man named Ed Dixon... an impressive presence."
WINS Radio: Leida Snow
"Dixon's music is melodic and the musical style and church setting make this SHYLOCK seem almost like a church mass. Dixon himself is on hand to render a rich and sympathetic interpretation of Shylock complete with a fine bass voice."
New York Native: Michael Sommers
"The show is nicely performed, especially by Dixon himself, who is impressive in the title role."
Daily News: Howard Kissell
"Musically, Dixon, who also plays the title, has given Shylock great nobility. The musical lines are elegant and Dixon's voice is powerful. Dixon's music is lovely, particularly in the ensemble writing."
The Dallas Morning News: Lawson Taite
"Dixon's CATHER COUNTY has universal appeal. Lyric Stage production a sounding, resounding hit. This is as fine a local music theater production as the Dallas area has seen... the score is subtle and accomplished."
Ft. Worth Star Telegram: Perry Stewart
"Cather musical debuts with exquisite melancholy. The compelling new musical premiering at Lyric Stage has kinship with OUR TOWN."
Dallas Voice: J. H. Johnson
"Lyric Stage has hit the boards with another resounding hit musical- Ed Dixon's haunting, melodic CATHER COUNTY."
NewYorkTheatre.com: Scott Mendelsohn
"An impressive coup-de-theatre."
Theatermania.com: Dan Bacalzo
"...in the manner of works like Leonard Bernstein's chamber opera, TROUBLE IN TAHITI. RICHARD CORY is a challenging piece that... engages the emotions."
CurtainUp: Elyse Sommer
"Gurney and Dixon's collaboration has managed to transform Robinson's poem into something quite special and unique in its own right. It's a construct that works beautifully."
Backstage.com: Ron Cohen
"RICHARD CORY, a seminal depiction of the morbid strain that often colors tales of the American dream, emerges as an impressive chamber opera... the music, combined with very deft lyrics gives the scenes and characters an emotional ungency and heft. Dixon's score is complex... takes flight with seductive melodiousness."
New York Times: Bob Kendt
"... the sort of suble chamber piece that might attract a specialized audience with repeated hearings, like a Bruckner Symphony or a Britten Opera. It is admirably clear, even transparent, both in its storytelling architecture and its inarguably fine excecution."
Talkin' Broadway: Matthew Murray
"The excecution is brilliantly conceived. This gives the show a unique musical texture, solidly operatic, yet never stiff or off-putting, RICHARD CORY sounds like few other musicals... the only depressing musicals are bad musicals, which makes RICHARD CORY as uplifting as it could possibly be."
Masquerade Magazine: Catherine Tyrone
"My recommendation is "jump on" your in for one of the most fun rides of your theater life!"
Time Out New York: Jessaca Branch
"This tart tounged Fanny really does seduce the audience completely. The wordplay is clever, the harmonies charming, the story's developement fast and funny and the performances are excellent."
The New York Times: Neil Genzlinger
"Funny and enjoyable. Mr. Dixon has a playful sense of humor."
Backstage: Andy Probst
"As bookwriter and composer, Dixon succeeds marvelously. He creates a compelling arc for the picaresque tale, and his music nicely evokes the period while also incorporating operetta into the sounds of contemporary musical theatre."
Daily Record: Kathy Shwiff
"The off-Broadway York Theatre Company sometimes does amazing things with its small stage, and a new musical version of the 1749 novel, FANNY HILL, is another example."
Broadway.com: Bill Stevenson
"Lusty, lubricious and very funny... Freewheeling and fun! The whole cast and production is first-rate."
Musicals101.com: John Kendrick
"Finally, a new musical for literate adults! A giddy tale of prostitution and love in 1700's London that gives contemporary audiences more bawdy, melodic fun than we've seen in many a season."
Talkin'Broadway.com: Matthew Murray
"You'll never forget FANNY HILL... Connoisseurs of the contemporary who have been waiting for her Big Moment to arrive need wait no longer."
New York Calling: William Wolf
"This is the sort of star vehicle for Anderson that she so richly deserves."
Newsday: Steve Parks
"Dixon, who earned a Drama Desk Nomination for his play, SHYLOCK, keeps us keeps us enough off balance that we can never be certain of the next line of attack. And speaking of lines, the Cranes duel with exquisitely polished wordplay weapons that are no duller for their impeccable grammar and diction."
The East Hampton Independant: Michelle Zimmerman
"This new play serves up a realistic look at life, show biz, and relationships, spiked with a double dose of comedy and honesty."
Dan's Papers: Jan Silver
"This play has many touching moments brought to life by two theatrical pros at the top of their form. As they chip away at one another's pretentious facades, a great affection and interdependence is revealed."
The Grand Rapids Press: Sue Merrell
"If "SCENERY" is a term for "making a scene," Ed Dixon's new comedy is aptly named, and he and co-star Lynne Wintersteller are experts at the craft. The show, which opened in Saugatuck's Mason Street Warehouse on Friday night, is a non-stop barrage of one liners and witty put-downs."
WGVU Midday West Michigan: Fred Martino
"SCENERY is the story of Richard and Marion Crane, a married couple that's made a life and career on the stage. Ed Dixon and Lynne Wintersteller are fantastic as Richard and Marion. And after this, you'll always wonder what goes on backstage and what are the real lives of those actors like when the curtain falls."
Chicago Tribune: Chis Jones
"Dixon has penned SCENERY a deliciously caustic two-character comedy that's first peeking out of its embittered shell, way, way off-Broadway... this shows attacks on New York theater culture and its shrewd disection of the dysfuntion that drives actors out of their minds positively vibrates with veracity. This, for sure, is the work of a man who knows all about the barbarism of life in the American theater."
Los Alamos Monitor: Carl Newton
"Ed Dixon's one-woman play covers the beginnings, highs and lows of opera diva Norma Richards' career. This reviewer ranks this show with the finest he has witnessed at LALT."
THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM
The Dallas Morning News: Lawson Taitte
"The piece's potential comes through clearly at the end of the first act. A pair of seperate love songs grow into a duet. It is the best single number we've heard here from Mr. Dixon to date, one of the best in any of the new pieces that Lyric Stage has mounted."
Fort Worth Star Telegram: Perry Stewart
"Playwright and composer, Ed Dixon, continues his love affiar with literature and once again, Lyric Stage is playing Cupid. Dixon's charming adaptation of Washington Irving's THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM had its first staging on Valentine's Day weekend at the Irving Arts Center, site of two earlier Dixon Premiers."