CLEVELAND — Ashtabula’s own Dennis Ford will be performing in the musical play “Seasons to Win Against All Odds” at the Hanna Theatre in Cleveland tonight and Saturday.
Ford is a well known singer and entertainer with the band Good Question. He has performed all over Ohio and beyond. In fact, that’s how he was picked for a part in the play.
“I’ve been a performer for over 40 years, but I had no experience in stage acting,” Ford said. “Our band Good Question was playing and the play’s producer/director was at the performance. He came right up and asked me if I wanted to sing one of my own songs in the play.”
Ford said at first he didn’t know if he could act, but did the best he could and got a part as a history teacher. In the play he sings one of his own songs, “When America Stands.”
“Seasons to Win Against All Odds” is a play about Ted Ginn Sr., father of Ted Ginn, the Glenville High School football star who went on to play at Ohio State and then in the NFL. Ted Ginn is currently a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He often credits his father with the character and personality attributes he needed to be successful.
“I play a history teacher who works with inner city kids,” he said.
“Ted Ginn’s father went through all kinds of adversity,” he added. “He wanted to give his son and family a better life, and went all out to do that.”
The play is the story of what Ted Ginn Sr. achieved in spite of racism, violence, urban decay and substance abuse, calling it a tale of personal, family and community empowerment, according to a release about the production.
“Ginn’s father was a track and football coach who knew how to empower kids,” Ford said. “My character is a history teacher who doesn’t fully understand how to reach out to inner city kids and their special problems. I play one scene, but appear in a few more.”
Ford said poorer inner city kids have anger problems that many teachers don’t know how to deal with. Ted Ginn Sr., on the other hand, helped his son and other kids with learning disabilities become successful and break the cycle of poverty.
“Seasons to Win Against All Odds” was written and directed by playwright Prestor Pickett.
The play is sponsored by the Cleveland Treatment Center, funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and supported by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.
The curtain opens 7 p.m. today and Saturday at the Hanna Theatre, 20667 14th St. in Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Suggested ticket donations are $15.
For more information call Sue Templar at (216) 861-4246 or Wendy Payne of the Ginn Foundation at (440) 364-7261.