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Denton athletes find spotlight away from gridiron

by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 1:40 AM

DENTON — After six performances over two weekends, Corbin Forest's run as the dentist from "Little Shop of Horrors" is over.

Corbin was one of four Denton Ryan football players to perform in the musical. That's as much athlete involvement as theater director Jeannene Abney has ever had.

"They know how to work to win," said Abney. "And they know what discipline is — teammwork, dedication — and they know how to work day-to-day for the end product."

Football players from Denton Ryan know all about playing on a big stage; they've played at Cowboys Stadium. But performing on a theater stage is much different.

"My line, I'm expecting people to laugh, because it's supposed to make them laugh," said BJ Floyd, who played defensive back for the football team (and a wino in the musical). "On the football field, you want to hear 'ooh' or cheering for you making a big play."

"The hard part is getting in a role that's being sexy and abusive — there's a lot of pelvic thrusting going on," said Forest of his role as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello. "It's just something I'm not; so, I just have to get into that role."

BJ and Desmond Oliver both played winos in the musical. And offensive lineman Matt Griffin spent two hours operating Audrey II, the huge plant with an appetite for human blood.

"They were hard-working and dedicated. It was just a really great experience," said Dakota Ratliff, who played Ellen Greene.

Performing live on stage is a big step outside the comfort zone for most football players. But performing when it counts, and hearing the big cheer from the crowd — that's nothing new.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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