10:47 AM

​From football to Broadway, Eddie George shares the secrets of his success with students

Eddie George won a Heisman Trophy for the Buckeyes, he went to the Super Bowl with the Tennessee Titans and he built his own business empire. Next month he’s coming back to Columbus in a new role: Broadway star.

George, a 2001 graduate of The Ohio State University, was at the Ohio Theater Monday morning to talk about his turn as Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago” and to speak to students from a recently established drama program at South High School. Students in the program come from area middle and high schools.

George, who decided to tackle acting after retiring from the NFL in 2004, told the students that he approaches performing on the stage the same way he approached football.

“What are you doing that your competition isn’t doing? How are you going to make yourself different than the other artists out there?” George asked.

A few of the students performed monologues for George. Faith Bean, a student from Lakeview Junior High School, performed a passage from “MacBeth.”

“I was nervous and excited and a bunch of different emotions that I just bottled up,” she said. “But then I ended up being cool and calm.”

Middle school student Joel Moren shared a similar story.

“Standing in front of people who I didn’t know and in front of someone who is famous and who’s going to work in an actual production was scary,” Moren said. “But it was it was amazing that I made him laugh. I was so happy I made him laugh.”

George’s foray into acting hasn’t come without challenges. He said he has missed out on roles in the past and noted it was a full year between his audition for the role of Billy Flynn and the time he was offered the job.

“You can’t take it personally. When you hear a no, you embrace it and go back and work in your craft,” he said.

That message made a real impact with Davina Ware, the South High School drama teacher.

“As many times as you hear the word no, do not give up,” Ware said. “That is something that I think every student will take with them. Because there are many times that they will hear that word. But if you don’t give up, you keep pressing towards the mark, you can accomplish your goal.”

Although George has already performed in “Chicago” on Broadway, his Columbus performance in February will allow fans of his time with the Buckeyes to see him in a new light.

“They know me as the Heisman Trophy winner,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll lose sight of the football player at some point during the show because they’re so mesmerized by what’s going on with Billy Flynn. If they forget about Eddie George up there and see Billy Flynn, I’ve done my job.”