Heisman Winner Eddie George In 'Chicago' At Shubert
It may be a leap of the imagination for sports and theater fans alike, but for Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State and star NFL running back, he was right at home. There he was in a Broadway musical, looking penthouse-elegant in his specially tailored tux — think supersize — and crooning a tune about love, as chorus girls surrounded him fanning pink ostrich feathers.
Since retiring from the NFL in 2006, the Philadelphia-born George, 44, has pursued other interests, from business and teaching to motivational speaking and acting, all with the same discipline he showed on the gridiron. George stars in the touring musical Chicago at New Haven’s Shubert Theatre June 1-3.
Going from the NFL to a Broadway musical is not a typical career move.
This is something I’ve been working at for quite some time — 13 years. I didn’t just wake up and say, “Hey, I want to be in Chicago.”
It’s one thing to do commercials or action films but you’ve acted in regional theater in such heavyweight plays as The Whipping Man, Topdog/Underdog and even Othello.
I want to be a serious actor. But I understood you have to build your chops and need experience. So I really worked at it over the years.
What was it like being on a Broadway stage for the first time?
Oh, man, it was definitely overwhelming and intimidating. I couldn’t believe it, because I’m thinking to myself, “Oh my God, what am I doing?” It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.
I understand arts was a big part of your childhood.
My mother exposed my sister and myself to a lot in terms of culture. We took classes in ballet, jazz dance, theater, gymnastics, because she really wanted us to be well-rounded.