Saturday May 5, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Pittsfielders looking closely at the trio of guys in search of a lake-dwelling creature in a made-for-television movie this weekend might just spot a familiar face.

I don’t mean Ben Savage or, for that matter, Richard Moll. I mean their partner in crime, 38-year-old Scott Wichmann, a 1991 graduate of Pittsfield High School, where he studied theater with and performed under the direction of Ralph Hammann.

The movie is "Lake Effects." It airs Sunday night at 8 on Hallmark Movie Channel. It stars Scottie Thompson as an ambitious lawyer who returns to her childhood home at South Mountain Lake in rural Virginia to attend her father’s funeral, and help her sister Lily (Madeline Zima) and her mother Vivian (Jane Seymour) settle the family estate.

Wichmann plays one of a threesome of local guys (Savage and Moll are his two cronies) who are determined to prove there is a "thing" -- the Smithie -- alive and well in South Mountain Lake, where "Lake Effects" was filmed.

"It’s really a lovely film. I’m so excited," Wichmann’s mother, Bonnie, said by telephone from her home in Leland, N.C. She accompanied her son to the premiere screening of "Lake Effects" at South Mountain Lake where, she said, "(we) got to walk the red carpet."

"Scott has always aspired to be an actor," his father, Ted, a retiree, said by telephone from his Dan Avenue home in Pittsfield. "He’s done so well. He’s a wonderful son."

After graduating Pittsfield High School, Wichmann went on to study theater for four years at Wagner College on New York’s Staten Island.

In his senior year at PHS, Wichmann played Don Quixote in the musical "Man of LaMancha" opposite then-future film actress Elizabeth Banks.

Wichmann has made his home in Richmond, Va. for the past 10 years and has gained a reputation as a skillful comedic actor, performing in regional theaters in and around Richmond, and throughout the Northeast.

Known particularly for performances in one-actor shows, Wichmann’s credits include "This Wonderful Life," "I Am My Own Wife," "The Santaland Diaries" and "Fully Committed." In a complete change of pace, he played the title role in William Shakespeare’s "Richard III" at Richmond’s Henley Street Theatre in the fall of 2008.

Wichmann joined the United States Navy Reserve two years ago and is now deployed in Afghanistan.

"He’s not in the front lines," his mother said. "He’s in logistics so he’s away from the fighting." His decision to enter the Navy, his mother said, "is Scott’s way of giving something back (to his country). He comes from a long line of military service."

When Wichmann returns in August, he plans to move to Los Angeles with his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, his mother said, "I have his car, his cat, his dog, everything.

"We are all so proud of him."

To reach Jeffrey Borak:
jborak@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6212.
On Twitter: @BE_Theater