Richmond stage favorite Scott Wichmann stars in Virginia Repertory Theatre's production of Last of the Red Hot Lovers, July 17 through Aug. 30, along with (from left) Debra Wagoner, Maggie Roop and Eva DeVirgilis. (Photo by Jay Paul, courtesy of Virginia Rep)
A Richmond stage mainstay, Scott Wichmann is originally from Massachusetts. Since the late 1990s, he’s taken on a variety of acting challenges, among them: the only human in an automated Busch Gardens attraction, a German woman who assumed a male persona to survive the Nazis and Soviets, Frank Sinatra and all the characters in the Christmas classic This Wonderful Life. Off-stage, Wichmann signed up in 2009 for a six-year term in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He took two voluntary deployments, in Afghanistan for six months in 2012 and the Horn of Africa’s Djibouti in 2014 and 2015. Now the 2011 Pollak Prize honoree is back and appearing onstage though Aug. 30 in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Virginia Repertory Theatre’s Hanover Tavern.
Richmond magazine: Scott, you’ve returned and jumped right back in. There’s some pent-up demand for Wichmann in Richmond.
Wichmann: Virginia Rep brought to my attention before I left last year that they were planning to do the show at Hanover Tavern, and it’s Neil Simon. Fits perfect. And what’s perfect, too, is that I’m in it with my lovely beloved, Eva (DeVirgilis, above right). Then in October, I’m at Virginia Rep, playing the Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatchers, a prequel to Peter Pan. And then we’re re-staging This Wonderful Life back at Hanover Tavern. It’s a quirky old building, like George Bailey’s house, and everybody loves it.
RM: Recently Bruce Miller, the founding artistic director of TheatreIV, now Virginia Rep, announced he’s retiring next year.
Wichmann: That’s immense. It’s like when Tom Landry left the Dallas Cowboys — he was the only coach they ever knew. Eva and I were talking about this and she says, “I was waiting for you to work in the sports analogy” (laughs). But seriously, he’s seen that company through tough times, watched it expand — and sometimes I know at the expense of his sanity. He’s the point man for the whole organization. What’ll be interesting to me is what’ll come next.
RM: While you’re busy here, a slew of Richmond talent is busy on and off Broadway.
Wichmann: Oh it’s crazy good! Mary Page Nance is in Finding Neverland, Zak Resnick is in A Piece of My Heart, Drew Seigla (who appeared in the final show of The Fantasticks) — all three were in the same improvisation class I taught at SPARC. It’s so exciting to see people I know and care about doing well.
RM: Will you return to the Navy?
Wichmann: I’m likely to re-enlist. I like having that component to my life, and I think I’m a better person for it. It’s funny – I was in Episode 5 of Turn as a Continental Army major. Hey, but check this out, even in this Navy debriefing I just went through, everybody had to stand up and tell what do you do, your job in the Navy and on the civilian side and three adjectives. For me, for my civilian side: “Writer, director and actor.” And my shipmates, they want to know about it. “You do that for a living?” Hey man, for right now, yes (laughs). There are no guarantees. I’ve got to go for it and I’ve had more opportunities than I ever thought possible.