The Barksdale Theatre announced a last-minute change to its summer schedule last week, adding the one-man show “Fully Committed” to its lineup. There's no small irony in the title: The show's star, Scott Wichmann, will ship off to Illinois the day after the show closes to join the U.S. Navy Reserve, a reflection of his resurgent commitment to serve his country.
Since arriving here 10 years ago, Wichmann has become one of Richmond's most recognizable, well-regarded and popular actors. He landed a spot on Style Weekly's “Top 40 Under 40” issue last year. Known for his range as an actor, he's excelled in an uncommon variety of local productions — from a one-man re-enactment of the movie “It's a Wonderful Life” in its entirety to his bravura turn as the treacherous title character in “Richard III.” And that was just during this past season.
His new role will complete a significant goal, he says.
“A while ago I made kind of a ‘bucket list’ and I realized I had always had it in the back of my mind,” Wichmann says — “this desire to make a contribution on a bigger scale.” Though 35 years old, he shrugs off any implication that he might be too old for this new obligation. A veteran marathon runner, Wichmann says, “I'm in better shape than a lot of the guys half my age; I'll have plenty to teach the young recruits.”
Off stage, Wichmann's face — and physique — is known as the in-your-face poker player in Virginia Lottery commercials and the pull-up-challenged patron of an American Family Fitness advertisement.
He knows being a stage star won't earn him any special reverence among the enlisted men, though. “I'm sure I'll take my share of abuse, but it won't just be from being old or being an actor,” says the self-described skinny, gap-toothed actor. “In a few weeks I'll be cleaning bathrooms with a toothbrush,” he says, joking, “so a little humility is in order.”
Wichmann, who enlisted at the Navy's Willow Lawn recruitment office, is joining the Navy's Delayed Entry Program. He'll spend four months in Illinois and then Mississippi to complete his training. Even before he leaves, fellow recruits have expressed an interest in coming to see his next show.
“Overall, it's an incredibly supportive group of people,” he says.