Lots of athletes have done cameos on TV. And some select others have actually pursued acting as a second career after retirement from their respective sports. But Broadway is a different ballgame entirely. On Broadway, much like in the big game, you only get one shot at the glory. Here's a look at five athletes who have gone for it on The Great White Way and lived to tell the tale:
Joe Namath: With the nickname "Broadway Joe," you'd think the Jets quarterback was an acting pro. In actuality, the nickname didn't reflect his prowess on the stage at all. He made his only appearance on Broadway as a cast replacement in a revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial in 1983. He replaced Jay O. Sanders during the run, but eventually the show had to move on to bigger and better things.
Muhammad Ali: Ali appeared on Broadway in the musical Buck White in 1969, but the show only had seven performances. Still, it lasted enough time for the entire cast to have the chance to perform the number "We Came in Chains" on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Broadway show highlighted a militant black lecturer speaking to a black political group.
Dominique Dawes: The former gymnast has gone onto some other projects since leaving the balance beam behind, performing briefly in the musical Grease, playing cheerleader Patty Simcox. She gained more attention though for her appearance in the music video for Prince's "Betcha By Golly Wow."
Mark Teixeira: Teixeira recently appeared in "Rock of Ages" wearing leather amid the classic rock groupies. "They have a great product," Teixeira said. "They wouldn't risk the reputation of the show by letting me belt out a few lines." It's a show that Teixeira holds near and dear to his heart, and one that worked out well for his Broadway debut. He's used to performing under pressure.
John Keston: For someone who only started running at age 55, Keston has outperformed his critics, and then some. He eventually set the world record for marathon time among those over 70. He also broke the national half-marathon record for the men's 80-84 category. Prior to his running heroics, Keston was an actor who, in 1974, made it to Broadway with a touring production of Sherlock Holmes. It was Keston's only Broadway credit.