Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twenty Snapshots of 'This Wonderful Year!!'

2008 was a fantastic year for me, filled with new friendships, new challenges and goals, and magical experiences. 2008 paved the way for a fast and furious 2009. I am looking forward to radically expanding my horizons in the coming year-- by doing some things I have always wanted to do-- and crossing some things off of my own private 'bucket list.'

Here are twenty truly memorable things that I had the pleasure to experience this year:



20.) 'THIS WONDERFUL LIFE':
Performing this show for folks is a spiritual experience. It is a conversation with the audience, a dialogue, and a celebration of one of the most beloved movies of all time. Every day I hear some positive word of encouragement from someone who shared in the joy of this heartwarming holiday story. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be given this opportunity. Everything that I am-- as an actor and a human being-- is summoned each night and poured into this amazing narrative. I'd also like to say that being given the enormous responsibility of bringing Jimmy Stewart's 'George Bailey' back to life is one that I wholeheartedly embrace. More than just a beloved actor, Mr. Stewart is an icon and an American Hero, and letting him speak through me each night is quite a humbling thing. Thanks to all the crew and creative staff of Barksdale Theatre for helping to make this such a special event. THIS WONDERFUL LIFE runs through January 11th. Please don't miss it. For ticket information, go HERE.

19.) MANNY: I bid farewell to one of my favorite Red Sox players this year... Manny Ramirez. The Sox brass saw fit to unload him and his zany, unpredictable ways, shipping him to the Dodgers in a three-team trade which netted them Jason Bay and a bucket of batting practice balls. Manny was a lovable knucklehead in left field, a guy who played the outfield like a pudgy, uncoordinated little leauger-- but who hit the ball a country mile and had a tireless (pregame) work ethic. I will always remember Manny warming up while listening to his ipod; or stepping into the batter's box carrying water bottles in his back pockets; or disappearing into the left-field wall scoreboard to make a cell phone call between innings; Or flipping his helmet off theatrically as he rounded third, revealing that gnarled mane of dreadlocks. My last fond memory of Manny is his spectacular home-run robbing catch in left field at Camden Yards and subsequent high-five of a Sox fan-- before doubling off the runner at first base. Highlight-reel stuff. Farewell, Manny, and thanks for 2004, 2007 and all of the great memories. See you in pinstripes... Just kidding... Here is his acceptance speech in 2004 after being named World Series MVP, complete with the phrase "You make your own destination..." (He means to say 'Destiny', but hey, it works...)




18.) MY FIRST MARATHON: On March 16th, 2008 I completed my first full Marathon, The Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach-- running 26.2 Miles in 4 Hours, 20 Minutes and 42 Seconds. I trained long and hard, fought through a psoas muscle strain in early January, and learned that I could indeed tackle that grueling distance. My immediate goal in the aftermath of the race was to begin to shave off some serious time in an effort to get close to the Boston Marathon Qualifying time of 3 Hours, 15 Minutes. I would have some serious work to do, but luckily, I found a springboard to a higher level of training later on in the year...

17.) 'INTERSECTIONS': The opportunity opened up for me to work with talented film-maker Lucas Krost a few weeks back, and I jumped at the opportunity. The short film was the brainchild of Pulitzer-prize nominated author and playwright Clay McLeod Chapman and featured Beau Marie as a coked-out rover whose life intersects with a serial killer, played by yours truly. The five-minute short film looks absolutely phenomenal, and it won rave reviews from viewers in the YouTube Sundance 'Project Direct' Film Festival. I look forward to working with Lucas, Beau, Clay and the gang at the Branching Films again. Great guys, true professionals. Special props go out actress Heather Bailey, who endured hours of laying on the wet, cold ground in a wedding dress during a torrential rainstorm at 3am in December. That young lady has heart!! Here is the entire 5-minute film:




16.)THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Love them or hate them, you have to admire their tenacity and teamwork. After narrowly missing the opportunity to close out the 2007 season at 19-0 in Superbowl XLII in February (Causing a month-long spiral of depression for me) the Pats opened their 2008 Campaign by promptly losing All-World QB Tom Brady to a season-ending knee injury. They soon lost All-Pro Safety Rodney Harrison, Veteran Linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Defensive End Adalius Tomas, to name just a few. Many pundits proclaimed the season a lost cause. Boy, were they WRONG. Led by Matt Cassel, a doe-eyed career 'clipboard holder' who hadn't started a game at QB since High School, the Pats found their mojo again, and as of this writing, they stand on the precipice of an 11-5 season and a possible division crown. A few things have to happen for the Pats to make the playoffs, but no matter what, this season has been a testament to the vision and coaching ability of Bill Belichick. The Pats just plow forward, relentlessly, week after week. Every man does his job in concert with the man next to him. The team is more important than any individual. Success depends on everyone doing their part to the absolute best of his ability. Sounds like a pretty cool philosophy. Hm...Where did Coach 'Hoodie' learn all that stuff?? Easy. His Father, Steve Belichick, was the head coach at the US Naval Academy. 'Nuff said.


15.) THE SCOOTER: I get around town by dropping exactly $1.39 cents into my gas tank. Rain or shine, my little Blue Roughhouse 50cc Scooter gets me there. This little guy is so much fun to ride-- Chelsea & Matt at Scoot Richmond helped me make an informed choice that really helped ease the pain at the pump during an insane summer when gas was upwards of four bucks. I'm looking forward to the summer and a possible upgrade to a 110cc bike, but for now, my little blue 'Scooty' is the way to go. Best purchase I ever made!!


14.) MOM'S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE: On October 24th, I drove down to my Mom's house in Wilmington, NC and surprised my Mom at 2am on her birthday. She totally freaked out and we had the best weekend ever. My Aunt Sandy was there, and the three of us had a great weekend tooling around downtown Wilmington and soaking up the sun. I can still see the two sisters strolling along the beach in their bare feet under a sky you'd have to see to believe. One of my favorite memories ever. Mom said it was the best Birthday she's ever had. That makes me happy.


13.) THE BPFL GOES PRIME-TIME: Our quaint little weekly touch-football club got some major pub this year as STYLE WEEKLY Correspondent Mary Burress came out and did an inside-the-huddle feature on the Byrd Park Football league. This is perhaps one of the best-attended seasons we have had lately, and new faces like 'Rookie-of-the-year' Candidate Elliot Lau have made the league fun, competitive and challenging. You can read The STYLE Feature HERE.

12.) 'THE AIR WE SHARE'& 'THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF': Writing a script for Theatre IV is a challenging experience, and it presents numerous opportunities for creative expression. I was fortunate to be given two opportunities this yer to write scripts that toured to Virginia Schools. THE AIR WE SHARE was produced in conjunction with GRTC & I was featured in it as Donald Driver, the goofy-as-all-heck father whose resistance to conservation practices provides many hilarious moments. Then, in late September I watched gleefully as Director Robyn Arthur brought my script for 'THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF' to vibrant life before my very eyes. The show features great music by Julie Fulcher and a lot of laughs. Both shows featured enormously talented casts, and I am proud of the work they all did. I look forward to the next opportunity to write for Theatre IV!!


11.) FACEBOOK: I joined at the vehement insistence of my friend Mary Page, and I cannot imagine my life without it. I have been re-connected to so many important people from my past, it is unbelievable. I have found folks from elementary school, middle school & college. What a great way to see what your friends are up to-- and incredibly addictive, to boot. I was barely able to tear myself away from it to write this blog post...


10.) WALK-ON WEEK: Mark Persinger and I threw out the idea of doing a one-hour 'Walk-on-Week' Sports Talk radio hour for charity on WRNL Sports Radio 910. The proceeds went to support juvenile diabetes research. We had a great time shooting the breeze on the air about everything from Brett Favre to the Red Sox. A month later, we found ourselves hosting a four-hour drive-time show as pinch hitters for regular drive-time host Wes McElroy. I even got to interview Olympic Tennis phenom James Blake!! We had several amazing calls from family members and friends alike, as well as supportive text messages and e-mails. Thanks to everyone who voted for us, or called in! The wave of support was phenomenal. With a little luck, the 'Bleacher Creature' show will be back in 2009. I'm confident that one of these days, we'll have our own show!!!


9.)THE RED SOX COME BACK: Down 7-0 in the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALCS, the Sox did what all Boston teams do so well-- they came roaring back from the dead. As JD Drew singled over the head of right fielder Gabe Gross to drive in Kevin Youkilis with the winning run, I was jumping up and down in my living room after midnight, still wearing the BoSox jacket I had on after walking in the door an hour earlier, fresh from an exhausting performance of RICHARD III. They may not have gone to the World Series this year, but just like the Pats, this Red Sox team had heart, guts, and grit-- and I would put them up there with my favorite all-time Boston teams, like the 1987 Celtics, who didn't win it all, but fought through injuries and showed just what they were made of. God, I love sports...

8.) THE CAST & CREW OF 'GUYS AND DOLLS': What a special group of people, and what a fun summer. Every now and then, you get a cast that just 'clicks' all the way through the lineup. That's what we had with 'GUYS AND DOLLS.' We had a few folks in from NYC (Jimmy Glidden, Rita Markova, Rachel Abrams, Chris Stewart) one from LA (Jody Ashworth) and lots of locals and a few newcomers-- and we did everything together. Softball, Karaoke, late-night dinners, Jazz clubs, you name it, we were there. Every now and then, you get a cast that feels like one big happy family. This was it for me, and they gave me the best summer I've had since I was seventeen years old. I wish them all well, wherever they are-- every brilliant, talented generous soul that graced that stage...


7.) MY FIRST COMIC BOOK: On the heels of THE AIR WE SHARE, GRTC gave me the opportunity to pen my first comic book, based on the TEAM RIDEFINDERS characters, which GRTC introduced to get kids thinking about conservation. I wrote the comic, and 'OddGodd Press' artist (and Velocity Comics owner) Pat Godfrey did the amazing artwork. TEAM RIDEFINDERS:CLEAN AIR HEROES was quite a collaboration, and if our schedules work out, Pat and I will be collaborating again soon!!

6.) THE BEASTIE BOYS SHOW: Stunning show, amazing energy, great cause. The B-Boys stunned the crowd as part of their 'GET OUT THE VOTE' tour, and they rocked the house. Adam Horovitz (King Adrock) Left a ticket for me at will call, and I still have it. Here is the opening of the show, with a kick-ass scratch routine by Mix-Master Mike, and a blistering rendition of 'Sure Shot':



5.) THE CELTICS WIN BANNER #17!!!: What can I say that hasn't already been said? To see my beloved Celtics jump from worst-to-first in one year was a stunning turn of events. The 24-point comeback in game four of the NBA Finals paved the way for a 39-point beatdown of the Lakers in Game Six to clinch the banner that we had been waiting 22 years for. Thanks to the tenacious, infectious energy of Kevin Garnett, the Celtics became more than just 'Relevant' again-- they showed the league that a commitment to defense is where championship teams are born. They show no sign of taking their foot off the gas, either. As of this writing, they sit at 27-4, and are primed to defend their championship with pride and passion. As a diehard Celtics fan, what more could I ask for??



4.) THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND MY COUSIN SHAUN: The events of the 2008 election are well-documented. The historic election of Senator Barack Obama is significant on many levels for The United States. Agree with his politics or not, there is a very intelligent, passionate man standing in the on-deck circle, ready to take the ultimate Leadership position as President, and he will need the help of every American to guide us through the treacherous waters of two wars, an economic crisis, environmental challenges, the terrorist threat, and many other obstacles. That part you know.

But, what you may NOT know is that my cousin Shaun graduated at the top of his class at the US Secret Service Academy in July of this past year. Shaun is a former Air Force EOD instructor, and just about the most committed and hard working young man you are likely to meet anywhere. He has our President's back. He is there at the shoulder of the Commander-in-Chief, and he is ready to do his part to ensure the safety and security of President Obama and his family. I could not be more proud of my cousin-- he has inspired me to think long and hard about the true meaning of service and sacrifice. Shaun is an American hero, whether he knows it or not, and I hope he knows just how proud we all are of him. We love him very, very much.


3.) RICHARD III: Every now and then a role comes along that you feel you just HAVE to play. RICHARD III was that role for me. Inspired by the amazing vision of Director James Ricks, and featuring a top-flight cast, RICHARD III was a journey inside the mind of a mad tyrant, and it gave me a chance to flex my muscles and really get down and dirty. I loved every second of it and I hope to get the chance to do it again someday. I know I will. Thanks again to Henley Street Theatre and every single one of my cast mates. It was an experience I'll never forget.

2.) THE RICHMOND MARATHON: I ran my second Marathon on November 15th, and I blew my own expectations away. Back in March of 2008, I ran my first Marathon in 4 Hours, 20 Minutes and 42 Seconds. This time around, however, I ran the same distance in 3 Hours, 20 Minutes and 44, meaning I cut almost ONE HOUR off of my Marathon time. Unbelievable stuff. I had one of the best days of my life, and I sprinted the last 100 yards across the finish line to a raucous ovation from the thousands of people lining the streets. It was an absolute 'Goosebump' Moment, and I got within 5 Minutes of the Qualifying time for Boston. Running Richmond was an expression of love for this city-- I am absolutely in love with Richmond, and I thank her for adopting me. Thanks to this Marathon, I have renewed confidence, and I hope to make my next Marathon even better. This year I hope to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC (In tribute to my Grandfather and My Uncle Mike, both Marines), and the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton Pa (As a gift to my Dad, who worked at Steamtown).

People ask me "How in the heck did you cut ONE HOUR off your Marathon time??" The answer?? I ran faster. But seriously, that question bring us to the number one thing that happened to me this year...


1.) SEAL TEAM PHYSICAL TRAINING: I wish I would have found this group five or ten years ago. I look forward to each workout with child-like anticipation. The instructors are incredible, the membership wide, diverse, supportive and caring, and the founder and CEO, former Navy SEAL John McGuire, is a hero to me and a dear, dear friend.

If you've been looking for a way to get back in shape, look no further. SEAL Team PT is the best fitness option you will ever find. STPT Helped me cut an hour off of my Marathon time, and it can help you reach whatever fitness goals you want to achieve. Come to a 'bring-a-friend day,' ask me when the next one is, and I'll hook you up. for more info, go their website, which is located HERE.

SEAL Team PT has helped me in countless ways. I'm more confident, stronger, faster, and have more endurance than I did was I was eighteen. I'm in the best shape of my life, and I'm facing 2009 with head up, eyes forward, showing confidence and optimism.

...2008 Taught me that, as Kevin Garnett said, "Anything is Possible!!" It also taught me about the transformative power of friendship, and the importance of teamwork and setting goals. I had a blast in 2008, and I look forward to living 2009 to the fullest. I hope to squeeze every moment out of this life with joy and gratitude.

Thank you for reading my blog, for being my friend, for supporting me. I sincerely feel like the 'Richest man in town.'

Blessing for a Happy New Year,

Scott Wichmann

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

THANK YOU, BEASTIE BOYS!!!!


In 2006, I worked on Israel Horovitz's new play The Secret of Madame Bonnard's Bath at Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, Mass. I had the good fortune to work under Mr. Horovitz's direction, and during my five weeks in Gloucester, I was able to get to know him and his wonderful family. When I came back to Richmond after the run of 'Bonnard', I plunged right into rehearsals for the one-man show I AM MY OWN WIFE at Firehouse. As I made my way out the door to go to the theatre for the opening night of 'WIFE' at FTP, I checked the mail. In the mailbox was a package from Israel, containing the DVD recording of 'Bonnard.' As I opened the DVD case, I noticed there was something written on the DVD in black magic marker. "What is this??" I thought. As I looked closer, I saw that it was a signature-- the word ADROCK emblazoned like a graffiti tag across the DVD itself.

I just about fell over.

See, ADROCK is the rap name of Mr. Horovitz's son, Adam, one of the three members of perhaps my favorite musical group ever-- THE BEASTIE BOYS.

I can tell you exactly where I was when each major Beastie Boys album came out. When License to Ill came out in 1986, I was thirteen years old living temporarily in Factoryville PA, playing hoops in my dad's gravel driveway. When 1989's Paul's Boutique Debuted, I was a moody sophomore trying to get acclimated to my new surroundings at Pittsfield High School in MA. By the time Check Your Head hit in the spring of 1992, I was a hyperkinetic Freshman at Wagner College on Staten Island. 1994's Ill Communication provided party music for many a beer-soaked collegiate throwdown during the summer before my senior year. Soon followed the punk-themed EP Aglio E Olio and the retro-themed archive Some Old Bullshit, both of which came out as I was navigating the ins and outs of living in NYC. Four years later, Hello Nasty was the soundtrack to my inaugural summer at The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Manteo, North Carolina, where I met many lifelong friends. By 2004's To The Five Boroughs, I was firmly entrenched in the Richmond Theatre Scene, and last summer I enthusiastically cranked The Mix-Up on my way out to Hanover Tavern to perform The Odd Couple Nightly.

I have always admired the members of the group-- Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, and Mike Diamond-- because of their refusal to sit still; Their tireless creativity, humor and energy pops in every beat and goofy lyric, and their ever-evolving musical range --combined with their strong social conscience --has inspired me to no end. They are genuinely nice fellas who care deeply about the world in which we live. I like that. It resonates with me. A lot.

Yach's Tibetan-themed 'Bodhisattva Vow' in 1994 sparked the beginnings of my interest in Buddhism, and the video of him smashing his nine-millimeter handgun with a sledge hammer in the video of for 'Something's Got to Give' is a great moment to behold. and Diamond's Lyric "Sometimes I feel as though/I've been blessed/Because I'm doing what I want/ so I never rest" serves as a personal reminder to me of just exactly how good I have it in my life.

I have always loved the Beasties, from their :44-second cameo in KRUSH GROOVE to the day I opened that DVD from Israel and left a twenty-minute rambling, Incoherent 'Thank You' on his phone. Growing up, folks would ask me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and I'd say "Easy-- The fourth Beastie Boy!!"

And yet, through all those years of rocking out to their fresh beats and funky grooves-- I was never fortunate enough to see them in concert. Not once.

Until last night.

The Beasties played headliner to a fantastic show at The Richmond Coliseum as part of their six-date Rock The Vote concert tour through all the Major swing states. Also on the bill were Nora Jones, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow and hip-hop artist SantoGold. (She was fresh!!)

The tickets were left by Adam Horovitz at the behest of Father Israel, and all I can say to both men is THANK YOU. In fact, this is the e-mail I received earlier in the day before the show:

"so..you can get your tickets and passes and stuff around 6-7:00...
go to the "will call" box office at the front of the building...
you'll be on the Beastie Boys guests list.
see you tonight...
adam"


I, Scott Wichmann, geeky fanboy from western Massachusetts, actually found myself on the freaking Beastie Boys' Guest list last night... which totally spun my head around Linda-Blair style. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever Imagine that his hip-hop highness The 'King Adrock' would be leaving me tickets to a B-Boy show. Holy Cow. I had the time of my life last night. And while I was there, I hooked up with local singer/actor Alia Bisharat (and her brother, Jake) and Actor/Writer/Fimmaker/Spoken-Word Poet Jude Fageas, the three of whom were there taking in the concert-- and we just had the best time.

The fellas really, really know how to put on a great show, and they were having just as much fun (If not more) than we were. I was totally going insane, rapping along with every lyric and sample. I was virtually oblivious to everything else. As a matter of fact, this fairly attractive blonde woman standing next to Alia said of me "Hey, Wasn't he in SCAPINO at Barksdale??" "Hey!! Weren't you in SCAPINO at Barksdale?? was that you?? You were great!!" And I barely took my eyes of the stage, mumbling something like "Uh...Uh Huh...Thankssss...." before jumping back into the lyrics of 'Sure Shot.' It was a really, really great evening.

I didn't get to meet the B-Boys last night-- they were probably really tired after the great show they gave us-- but I have no doubt I'll get the chance someday. What I'd really love to do is play pick-up basketball with them someday. Can we make that happen?? Anyone?? Israel??? Adam?? You game??

Anyway, Thanks again, B-Boys, for a great performance. It was a dream come true.

Here's a similar sample of how the show started last night, with a kick-ass Mix-Master Mike Solo Scratch routine. This video is from Glasgow in 1999, but it is fresh as HAIL:



I leave you with a really fun and easy to remember mantra from a Beastie Boys tune. May it inspire you to have a fun and prosperous day:

Dip Dip Dive,
So-Socialize
Open up your ears
and clean out your Eyes,
If you learn to love
you're in for a surprise,
It could be nice to be alive!!!


Peace & Justice,

Scott Wichmann

Monday, October 06, 2008

A press round-up for 'RICHARD III'


RICHARD III is open, and we have been getting a great deal of publicity lately. The reviews have been very positive, and the houses are starting to really pick up. We received a standing ovation on Saturday night, a raucous round of applause for a fantastic ensemble of actors who are doing terrific work night in and night out. We run until October 18th, and the houses are filling up!! Don't miss your chance to be a part of this amazing production.

I was recently featured in an interview on WTVR-6's Virginia This Morning with hosts Julie Bragg and fellow Bay-Stater, Red Sox Fan and SEAL Team alum, Greg McQuade.

(quick side-note: Greg won an Emmy for a piece on SEAL Team CEO and Founder John McGuire's battle back from paralysis.)

Greg and Julie were very gracious to afford me the opportunity to speak about this once-in-a-lifetime role. It is a nice, informative interview. Check it out:



For a quick rundown of the 'ink' we've been getting, look no further than this blog post-- your one-stop shop for all the RIII news that's fit to print.

If you're unfamiliar with what we're doing out at Henley Street Theatre, I urge you to check out these links to three separate feature stories on the concept of our production of RICHARD III. Here are links to some interesting and informative reads from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Style Weekly and Richmond.com. You can also read a great feature on Director James Ricks and myself in Richmond Marquee-- you can do yourself a favor and subscribe to this great Theatre Resource by going here!! (I love you, Lisa!!)

I also wrote a short piece for URGE Magazine on the process of creating my version of Richard Gloucester. You can peruse that here.

As for the reviews, we've gotten two very positive ones from the RTD's Susan Haubentstock and Style's Dave Timberline. A third review, from Richmond.com's Joan Tupponce, was heard on NPR last tuesday; I'm working on finding either a link or a transcript --or both.

More information can also be found at the Henley street Theatre website. You'll find Ticket prices, showtimes, show photos and much more info regarding Henley Street's 2008-2009 season.

Meantime, we hope you'll join us for the remaining performances of RICHARD III. You'll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading!! I hope to see you on Henley Street!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Friend, James Ricks.


I have to tell you about my friend James. He is perhaps the hardest-working, motivated and knowledgeable person I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And I am very proud to call him my dear friend.

A few years back, when we were doing the run of SCAPINO!, James pitched the idea of directing a multimedia production of RICHARD III, and asked if I would be up for it. I jumped at the possibility, and hoped that one day it would become a reality.

James then wrote up a proposal, solicited my input, and shopped it to Theatres all over town --and beyond. He literally burned down the phone lines to producers and Artistic Directors daily, traveling back to Richmond from DC on his lone day off per week to hold meetings, craft budgets, and plan strategies for making this thing happen. He slept on countless couches, endured bleary-eyed late-night jaunts back & forth, lost sleep, called or texted me in the middle of the night with an amazing new takes on scenes, or TV Spots, or monologue choices; He e-mailed dozens of script edits and probably drank 100 gallons of Starbucks coffee. Everytime I would see him, he would be wrinkled, unshaven, slightly crazed, but always possessed of an easy smile and the same incredible sense of fun and possibility.

Through tenacity, perseverance, timing, and luck, he finally found the right theatre (Henley Street) found a video producer (G2 Productions) and assembled a first-rate cast of some of Richmond's finest acting talent. Next thing I knew, we were shooting the multimedia spots that James came up with. less than three weeks later, we were in rehearsal. As I write this, we open in just under three hours.

I am amazed, and know not what to say.

James Ricks is the backbone of this enterprise; He is the beating heart at the center of this project, the 'Straw-that-stirs-the-drink' as it were, and the guy who keeps us honest onstage. His self-motivation and determination stun me, and his love for Shakespeare and good storytelling are infectious. We have all been given the gift of James' time, talent, humor, and brilliance.

One thing about James that strikes me is his immense heart. This fellow has a personal humility and a warm friendliness that puts all of us at ease. He also inspires us to do our best, motivates us to take risks an make bold choices. I have no doubt that James is going places, as both an actor (a brilliant, first-rate one, at that) and as a director. I could totally see James as the AD of his own theatre someday. The community that lands him in that position will be a very lucky one.

So tonight, all of our efforts go towards making James' vision of RICHARD III a reality. I am so thrilled and blessed to have found such a true, dear friend in Mr. Ricks. I can only hope it is the latest in many future collaborations with him.

Thanks, James, and enjoy your drunken stupor tonight, my brother-- You've earned it.

And, Go Canucks!!...That is, until my Bruins beat their asses red.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kicking into High Gear!!


When I was kid, I used to watch The SuperFriends on television. religiously. I never missed an episode. I wanted to be a part of the team back when I was eight years old sitting in front of the TV in feeted pajamas and eating way-too-sugary cereal. Little did I know then, the SuperFriends actually exist in real life, and now I'm one of them.

Welcome to SEAL Team Physical Training.

Oh, man. I'm feeling really good lately. Really Good. I'm in the best shape of my life. I have been doing the regular SEAL Team workouts just about every day since June, and it has made a huge difference in my energy level and outlook on, well, everything. I've also noticed that in just under four months, I have gotten stronger and faster. I can't wait to see what the next four months will bring.

On August 23rd, I ran the Patrick Henry Half-Marathon in 1:31:11. I felt like I was flying throughout the race, and I got progressively stronger as the miles went by. It also helped that the temperature was in the low 70s with a light breeze. I was initially shooting for 1:37 as a goal time, figuring that 1:45 would be an approximate finish time for me.

Little did I know that the SEAL Team training-- where we basically run one type of race or another every single day-- prepared my body and mind to almost go on 'auto-pilot.' Ninety-one minutes and eleven seconds later, I had blown my own expectations out of the water. If I can do that once, maybe I can do it several times!! As Instructor Maguire says "It's amazing what the body can do when it wants to."

I want it to want to run the Boston Marathon. And a 50-miler. And a 100-miler. And the 3,750 Mile Great Wall of China?? Who knows??

Oh, and The best thing about race day?? No push ups!!... By the way, I was EXTREMELY motivated that day; It was almost otherworldly. Supernatural. I don't know...

The SEAL Team workouts have been fantastic, and getting to know the folks at SEAL Team has been an absolute joy. My 'extended family' just got bigger by about 300 People. A few of them are loyal theatre-goers, and others, such as STPT Founder and CEO John Maguire and his Wife, Tracey (as well as their five beautiful children) have become new Richmond Theatre fans after seeing GUYS & DOLLS-- TWICE!!

The door swings the other way, too!! I've gotten some Richmond Theatre folks eagerly involved in SEAL Team-- GUYS & DOLLS 'Havana Siren' Mary Page Nance and her father, Charles, recently graduated from SEAL Team class 249--HOOYA!!

A brief word about Mary Page-- of who I am very proud: I talked at length to several people in our cast about enrolling in an STPT 'Basic Fitness Class,' and while many hemmed and hawed, MP dove right in with enthusiasm and fearlessness. Next thing I knew, she was the 'President' of her class of 20 or so people. She had to go back to school at the end of August, (She studies modern dance at SUNY Purchase) but the people at SEAL Team still ask about her. She made one heck of an impression in a really short span of time!

And now, thanks to Mary Page's endorsement, the tide is turning... Last week, Dancers Elliot Lau and Kat Legault from G&D came to a 'Bring a Friend' day (As they say at STPT: "Bring a friend Thursday, lose a friend Friday")and, as I understand, both are enrolling in the new class which starts on October 6th.

I've also gotten in-demand actor Landon Nagel out to a workout-- and I've talked to to others, such as my 'little sister,' Audra Honaker, and fellow RICHARD III cast-mates Frank Creasy, Stephen Ryan and Ken Moretti about coming out to get dirty with us.

I hope they will, because honestly-- SEAL Team is the best gift I have ever given myself. On my first BAFD workout, I did 37 sit-ups in two minutes. In just under four months, that number has risen to 107-- and climbing. We recently had a member celebrate his 76th birthday by doing 76 push ups and running through a giant banner that read 'HAPPY 76th BIRTHDAY, STUKEY!!' What a gratifying and joyful moment, shared by almost 200 wet and dirty people at Dogwood Dell at 6:45 am. It is moments like that which motivate me to do the best I can...I want to be in as good-- if not better-- shape when I'm 76 years old!! I look forward to the challenge of making every workout better than the last each day, and taking those fitness gains with me out into the world of road racing. I hope to get close to 3:30 in the Richmond Marathon on November 15th, and keep shaving seconds off to get that Boston Qualifying time of 3:15 in view...

As far as rehearsal goes, RICHARD III is shaping up to be something really special and unique. James Ricks' ambitious and innovative staging and encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespearean verse-- along with his insane sense of humor-- make it a joy to come to work every day. The cast is also filled with talented, brilliant actors who are also great people. Melissa Johnson-Price is someone whose work I have admired from the audience on many occasions, and working opposite her is a real pleasure... She brings every moment to vibrant, active life, and in her hands, Queen Elizabeth is no pushover. Adam Mincks' 'Buckingham' has just the right amount of slippery ambition, and Margaret Joyner, Jeanie Rule and Rebecca Muhleman are fantastic as Queen Margaret, The Duchess of York, and Lady Anne, respectively. We also have a top-notch Stage Management and tech staff, and as we approach tech week, the challenge of integrating the multimedia component will be one we all look forward to. We open in one week; I can hardly believe it is coming up so fast. I'm going to enjoy and savor every moment of this opportunity...

Other than SEAL Team and RIII, I've basically been watching Episodes of Doctor Who on YouTube (The best show on television), tinkering with my two fantasy football teams, riding my Scooter everywhere, playing BPFL Football on Sundays, and keeping a way-too-close eye on the Sox and Pats... Man, this is the life!!

While I have a little bit of down-time now--the exact opposite of the harried, intense schedule I had in March and April-- My work schedule is falling nicely into place for the next few months... I expect to be VERY busy, very soon. I will open THIS WONDERFUL LIFE at Barksdale on November 28th, then direct I HAVE A DREAM for Theatre IV in January, before starting rehearsals for Bo Wilson's new musical MONA'S ARRANGEMENTS later that month. I will also be directing THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SIMPLE MACHINES for Theatre IV in March, and there is a good chance I'll be at the helm for TAKE ME OUT at Richmond Triangle Players in May-- that is a story I am very eager to tell!!

I also want to take a second just to pass along a few links-- First, I have been listening quite religiously-- to Dave Mangano's Richmond-based Scootercast Podcast. Dave is an avid 'Scooterist' and Vespa owner, who travels quite a bit, and his podcasts are informative, unique and fun. He has a really pleasant voice and on-air demeanor, and he is very interested in 'Scooter-People' throughout the community and the larger world beyond the '804.' You owe it to yourself to give him a listen!! Just click on this link!!

And I would be terribly remiss if I neglected to mention the Henley Street Theatre Website, which features tons of information and links to press stories about our upcoming production of RICHARD III. I wrote a feature for URGE Magazine about RIII, and that link-- as well as showtimes and ticket prices--are available by going here. Special Thanks to Jessica Fulbright and Jacquie O'Connor for their tireless work getting the show some serious publicity. FYI, I will be on WTVR Channel 6 next Thursday, September 25th at 9am to talk about RIII. I hope you'll tune in.

That's about it for the updates-- Everyone have a great week!!

Best,

Scott Wichmann

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Goodbye, Richmond Braves. I'll miss you.


"Game Called. Across the field of play
the dusk has come, the hour is late.
The fight is done and lost or won,
the player files out through the gate.
The tumult dies, the cheer is hushed,
the stands are bare, the park is still.
But through the night there shines the light,
home beyond the silent hill.

Game Called. Where in the golden light
the bugle rolled the reveille.
The shadows creep where night falls deep,
and taps has called the end of play.
The game is done, the score is in,
the final cheer and jeer have passed.
But in the night, beyond the fight,
the player finds his rest at last.

Game Called. Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game."

-Grantland Rice, 1948

Sunday, August 03, 2008

WE WIN!!!


Friends and Family,

First off, regarding the Manny Ramirez Trade... I'm moving forward, day by day.

Second, and most importantly-- I am proud to announce that, thanks to the support of our friends and family and the countless, tireless campaign of online voting, Mark Persinger and I have been given the opportunity to host the 3pm-6:45 drive-time slot TOMORROW, MONDAY AUGUST 4th on Sports Radio 910AM WRNL Richmond!!!

I received the call from Station Manager Mike Clifford early Friday morning asking Mark and I to come up with several sports topics to sustain a three-hour and forty-five minute radio stint. We are being thrown right into the fire, but we have been given a whole host of amazing subjects to choose from, from NFL Hall of Fame inductions to MLB Trades, the ongoing Brett Favre saga and much more. We will also be interviewing Olympic Tennis player James Blake and leading into the broadcast of Richmond Braves Baseball at 7pm.

Mark and I basically lucked out by having such incredibly supportive friends and family. We have been given a really special opportunity to do something we both really love, and we want to thank you all again for all of your help and support. If you’re not in the Sports Radio 910 Listening area, you can listen online HERE from 3pm-6:45 Monday!!

Thanks once again and we hope to do you all proud!!

Best Wishes,

Scott Wichmann and Mark Persinger

AKA The Bleacher Creatures

Monday, July 21, 2008

Can't stop won't stop!!

The last few weeks have been really fun and interesting. The run of Guys and Dolls at Barksdale is running really smoothly and we've had great houses for every show. We're running through August 17th, so don't miss your opportunity to check it out!!

Last weekend was particularly cool-- I went ahead and bought a Roughhouse 50cc Scooter from the fine folks at Scoot Richmond. Let me just tell you, I absolutely love it. The little guy gets me almost 100 Miles Per Gallon, and so far I've only had to fill it up once, that trip costing me a whopping $2.80. I can get wherever I need to go in town and have fun doing it. I don't need a motorcycle license for a 50cc scooter, but I plan on taking the 3-day Class M motorcycle course at DMV anyway, since I can definitely see myself upgrading to a Rattler 110 someday.

I ride the little guy to my SEAL Team workouts in the morning, and the other day I parked it next to Instructor Maguire's Hummer just for giggles. I also park it outside the theatre during the run of the show (With the giant chain on it) and the on-duty cops keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, Mark Pershinger and I hosted our own Sports Radio Talk show on Sports Radio 910 here in Richmond as part of 'Walk-on-Week' to to benefit diabetes research. Mark and I had a blast as we talked about the ongoing Brett Favre drama and greatest Yankee Stadium Moments. Sports Radio 910 is currently asking their listeners to Vote for their favorite 'Walk on Week' hosts, and the winners will be asked to substitute for drive-time host Wes McElroy in late August. You can listen to an audio segment and vote for Mark and I by going Here.

On the athletic front, I have decided to postpone my 50-mile Ultramarathon because the hectic nature of my current schedule prevents me from training properly for such a huge undertaking. The last thing I want to do is attempt something so brutal without having done all the proper preparation. I'm a bit disappointed, but I just have to be realistic and accept that the time isn't right. So, instead, I will be running the Patrick Henry Half-Marathon on August 23rd, then assorted 5ks and community races, and then concentrate on improving my PR in the Richmond Marathon in November, a race which I hope to use as a fund raiser for the Theatre Artists Fund. I plan to shave at least 20 minutes to a half an hour off of my time and keep inching closer to a Boston Qualifier.

I have had a blast with races this summer, running the XDuro 21k Trail Run in June and the Camp Hilbert 'Six in the Sticks' race two weeks ago. The SEAL Team workouts are really paying strong dividends in the endurance department. The competitive nature of each workout makes you feel like you're running a race every day, and we all push each other to be faster, stronger and mentally tougher. I can't wait to do the workout tonight at 6pm at Dogwood Dell.

I'm also gearing up for the shooting days for Richard III, when we begin to shoot all of the 'Paid Political Advertisements' for the York Family which will be part of the audience experience during the presentation of the play. I was fitted for my 'Hump' recently, and I started to get really excited. This is actually going to happen, and I cannot wait.

And a quick reminder before I close, Theatre IV Softball will be held this coming Saturday, July 26th at 9:30 am at Thomas Jefferson High School at the corner of Grace and Malvern. We had eighteen people our first week, and we were able to field two teams and had a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!!

Best,

Scott Wichmann

Monday, July 07, 2008

Thank you, Liz Marks.



We lost another great one this weekend.

My friend, agent, and casting director, Liz Marks lost her valiant battle with cancer this past Sunday morning.

The last time I saw Liz was at a matinee of The Firehouse Cabaret, where she was just gushing over the performances of Jude Fageas and Alia Bisharat. I made the introductions, and Liz jumped right in, eager to get them both in front of the camera to audition for a Virginia Lottery spot.

Liz was so complementary and so encouraging to both of them that Jude and Alia left the Firehouse Theatre that day feeling like a million bucks. That's the power Liz had. She made you feel great about the human potential you possess-- She made you see that the sky is the limit, and believe me, she lived that mantra.

Liz took care of her actors, ever mindful of their needs and concerns. After talking to Jude and Alia that day, she apologized to me for not asking me to audition for the spot as well, worried that I'd be hurt or professionally offended. I certainly wasn't offended at all, seeing as how I probably wasn't right for the spot-- (I'm not in my teens anymore, after all)-- and having already done the Texas Hold 'Em Lottery spots a few years back, I knew that they probably needed fresh faces. Yet the fact that Liz cared enough to mention it speaks volumes about the way in which she went about her business.

Last year, Liz invited me to audition for the national Old Spice spot featuring Tony Stewart. I kept saying, "Liz, I have a show on one of the shoot dates!!" She said, "Just come!! Come audition!! It's a huge job!!" So, I auditioned. She kept saying "They love you-- they want to use you, they're just not sure in what role." Then, when I finally landed the spot, I found out by opening an email from Liz with the subject heading reading: "U DA MAN!!!" The message read simply: "WOOHOO!! BOOKED!! CALL ME!!" We high-fived one another when we saw each other again.

That Old Spice job allowed me to go home for my cousin's wedding last year, and it really helped us out over the lean times. I have only Liz to thank for the unforgettable time I shared with my family last august.

Her enthusiasm was infectious. Her tenacity and lust for life I will never, ever forget. For years, Jennie and I would run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and one year as we crossed the finish line, we could both hear Liz singing, in her brassiest, most inimitably inspiring way "I'M STILL HERE!!" under the pavilion... That's one of my favorite memories of Liz.

Liz Marks is an inspiration to many, and the toughness she displayed throughout her back-and-forth bout with cancer is beyond measure. I hope that if I ever have to face such circumstances, I will be able to reflect the same amazing combination of "Will and Grace."

Thank you, Liz Marks, for all you did for my career and my family. We miss you dearly as we honor your amazing life.

Sincerely,

Scott Wichmann and Jennifer Meharg.

Funeral arrangements can be viewed HERE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

THE BOSTON CELTICS WIN BANNER NUMBER SEVENTEEN!!!


I'm exhausted. Drained emotionally and giddy like a six year old who's been up way past his bedtime after watching a fireworks show. I'll be writing more about what this championship means to me soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to post a brief NBA Promo called "I REMEMBER" that chronicles fan reaction from the day last summer when the Celtic signed Kevin Garnett and officially turned their last-place ship around.

It is for me a goosebump-inducing piece, because I remember being absolutely giddy when the trade was announced, and I knew we were getting not only a special athlete, but one of those rare personalities in sports.

Kevin Garnett possesses a unique and unmatched brand of intensity, a personal humility and a great sense of basketball history. He knew what winning a championship in Boston would mean to us fans, and he bravely accepted the challenge with open arms. He also changed the culture on a previously defensively-challenged squad, winning the defensive player of the year award for 2008 and leading the Celtics to the best single-season turnaround in NBA history. The C's went from worst-to-first and showed us all that, in Mr. Garnett's own words, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!"

I'll always remember the day we got Garnett. I almost jumped through the roof, because I knew good things were in store. Looks like my enthusiasm was justified...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thank You, Instructor Maguire!!

I've just finished my first week with Richmond SEAL Team Physical training, and it ROCKS. Today I found myself river rafting with my team, swimming breast-stroke relays in the James River with my sneakers on, running through the woods, and doing push-ups in ninety-degree heat. This is gonna be a great summer.

I feel like a little kid.

I love my team, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the program.

This entire week has been phenomenal.

My personal sit-up total almost doubled in just four days. I went from doing approximately 35 sit-ups(in two minutes) to 71, and I'm shooting for triple-figures next time. Hopefully when we 'test out' next Friday, I'll be in double-figures in pull-ups (They cast me in that American Family Fitness Commercial for a reason, you know!!) and I'll have made some serious progress with speed and endurance. The push-ups are still pretty tough, but the other people in the class have motivated me to do better and I eagerly look forward to each workout.

But I have to say, the single most motivational factor in SEAL Team PT is John Maguire, the founder and CEO of SEAL Team Physical Training. The guy is a born leader. He doesn't yell, he never, ever raises his voice. He is a master motivator, encouraging you to do your best and take care of your teammates. His quiet confidence and sense of humor rubs off on the whole team, and we have been infused with his spirit.

John's story is unique, uplifting, and inspiring. Please take a minute to watch the Emmy-nominated piece from WTVR reporter Greg McQuade which chronicles John's Incredible comeback last year from a spinal cord injury that could have left him paralyzed for life. If I can face everything in my life with even half of the positivity and determination he has shown, I'll never have any real problems as long as I live.

Thank you, Instructor Maguire!!

If you've ever wanted to begin a workout regimen, get in shape, lose weight, or simply challenge yourself, you would be hard-pressed to find a better team-based fitness program anywhere. Come and see for yourself!! For more information on Richmond SEAL Team Physical training, go here. HOO YA!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

"What the Heck Did I just get myself into??"


A few months ago, I attended a 'Bring-a-friend-day' at Richmond SEAL Team PT. The instructor, John Maguire, a former Navy SEAL, kicked our butts all over the Carillon with more push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and bear crawls than I have ever done in my life. We ran sprints, vaulted up stairs and played tug-of-war in an intense workout regimen of nonstop, high intensity boot-camp-style exercise.

It was HARD. Harder than any physical workout I've ever done, and that includes running 26.2 miles. Trust me when I say that this stuff was difficult.

At one point in the workout, after having forced us to do like thirty push-ups (About NINE of which I probably did correctly), Instructor Maguire barked at us to pair up quickly to do sit-ups. I made eye contact with a guy named James, a middle-aged guy with a hardcore countenance and a Triathlete's physique. Instructor Maguire counted down from 5 to 1. James grabbed me and attempted to interlock our legs into the team sit-up position, but my feet were still splayed out wide. James whispered sternly and sharply "Lock in your LEGS-- LOCK IN YOUR LEGS!!"

Instructor Maguire had finished counting down, and our little James/Scott team wasn't ready. So, as punishment for my sluggishness, Instructor Maguire made the whole class of thirty do-- you guessed it-- More push-ups.

Oops. My bad. I thought "Way to make friends with the class, Mister-'just-visiting'-guy."

After the push-ups, we gave 'Pairing up' another try, and this time, I think James and I were ready by the time John counted down from 5 to 4. I had learned!!

Then, I watched in stunned amazement as James rattled off, I kid you not, 111 sit-ups. I sat there, counting into the triple digits, mouth agape. This guy James was like a machine. Just when it looked like he couldn't go further, he kicked into another gear and attacked those sit-ups with even fiercer determination.

Then James said "Your turn."

I struggled mightily to eek out 35 out-of-breath, poorly formed, punk-ass sit-ups. James helped me with the final few by easing my elbows to my knees with his hands, making my meager total at least a teeny bit more respectable. Thanks, dude.

This guy James is my new hero, I thought.

So then, John says to the group-- "If you've just set a new sit-up personal record, stand up."

So I stood up.

Everybody laughed.

John said "Sit down, you don't have a PR yet."

I thought "like hell I don't!! I just wheezed my ass off for those 'whack 35,' I want some recognition!!"

James stood up. 111 sit-ups. I thought, He had to have started somewhere... Maybe someday I could knock out that many perfect sit-ups...Dude is in killer shape...

So, that's where the seed was planted...

That was back in March, when the temperature was in the mid-40s. I was right at the peak of my marathon training, and the running sections were almost like getting a brief respite from the push-ups, which I have never, ever been any good at. Back in the '80s when I was in elementary school gym class, we had the President's Physical Fitness Test, and I think the seventy-plus year-old President Reagan could do more push-ups than me, even though I probably weighed about sixty-two pounds.

So it was with some mild surprise that I found myself with the phone in my hand this afternoon, in the middle of registering for the SEAL Team PT two-week basic fitness class which starts this Monday, June 2nd at 9:30am. As I hung up the phone, I thought of that grueling mid-March workout. I thought of the high-80s temperatures forecast for the Richmond area next week. My next thought was "What the heck did I just get myself into??"

So, wish me luck as I embark on the two-week adventure of a lifetime. It's time to see if I can access that Extra-Gear that I want to get in touch with-- to push my limits and really impact my half-marathon time in the June 14 XDURO Trail Race.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to practice my HOO-YA!!

For more information about Richmond SEAL TEAM PT, visit their website or call (804)-262-1894

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Promoting the heck outta GUYS AND DOLLS!!



Barksdale Theatre is really promoting the summer show at the Empire in a fast & furious manner, and I'm always glad to help out.

I was recently interviewed on B-103.7 FM to Promote the Barksdale Production of Guys and Dolls as part of the WMXB 'Listener Rewards Program.' You can here the brief interview via streaming audio here.

I'm playing Nathan Detroit, the super-squeezed, conniving crapshooter. It's a role I really love, and I'm having loads of fun in rehearsals. Barksdale Audiences are really lucky, as we've got Rachel Abrams (Adelaide) and Rita Markova (Sarah Brown) back from last year's production of Into the Woods, and LA-Based actor Jody Ashworth playing Sky Masterson. I'm also thrilled to finally be working with the uber-talented Jason Marks for the first time as 'Nicely-Nicely' Johnson.

Be sure to read my recent post on the Barksdale Theatre Blog for some fun rehearsal-related ruminations!!

Guys and Dolls opens June 13th and closes August 17th. Call 804-282-2620 for tickets and information!! Don't miss out!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catching My Breath... With a few links.


The last few months for me have been a non-stop roller-coaster of rehearsals, auditions, performances and writing deadlines. I just finished the run of The FIREHOUSE THEATRE CABARET, a fast-paced, fun variety show at the Firehouse Theatre Project, which I had the privilege to both Direct AND appear in. You can read the recent STYLE review here.

Now, at the same time I was Directing and acting in The FTP CABARET, I was also Directing and Acting in a touring show for Theatre IV-- which I also wrote-- titled THE AIR WE SHARE. The show focused on alternative transportation, conservation, and environmental stewardship. Co-Produced by GRTC and Ridefinders (The local transit company), THE AIR WE SHARE was a rousing success. The show visited about 80 area schools and equipped students and their families with different tools to conserve energy and reduce our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels.

The run of THE AIR WE SHARE was parallel to the run of the FTP CABARET, so on most weekdays I would get up at 6am, do two THE AIR WE SHARE shows, come home, take a nap, eat, then go to the Firehouse Theatre for an evening performance of the FTP CABARET. It was exhausting work, and I'm still kind of 'Zapped' from it all. To top it all off, my pal Eddie Garcia was in from LA filming a Movie, and he crashed on our couch for a month while Jennie studied feverishly to pass her Personal Training Certification Exam (She passed, by the way, and now she's kicking my BUTT!!) Throw in the two dogs and two cats in our small apartment, and the last few months have been eerily similar to the scene in that Marx Brothers Movie where twenty people fill a small Stateroom on a steamship. Pure Chaos.

Yet, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm really proud of the work I've been a part of recently. One of the most exciting parts about my new relationship with GRTC just arrived in my mailbox. See, out of the touring show experience arose the opportunity to write a comic book based on the TEAM RIDEFINDERS characters which GRTC has been pushing as part of their 'Clean Air Hero' campaign. I wrote the script for the comic book and lucked out when Pat Godfrey, owner/operator of Velocity Comics agreed to do the art work. I just received a copy of the book, and it looks great!!

My next writing project will be the book and lyrics for Theatre IV's tour THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF with Julie Fulcher penning the music. I'm excited to be collaborating with Julie again-- we worked together on the 2003 premiere of THE JUNGLE BOOK, a musical which Theatre IV toured around the country and Barksdale put on it's Mainstage. Julie always has fantastic ideas, and her spirit and humor make her a joy to work with.

This week I also started rehearsals for GUYS AND DOLLS at Barksdale Theatre. I'm playing Nathan Detroit, a role I had a lot of fun with eight years ago at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in Colonial Heights. I'm really enjoying the cast camaraderie, and Director Patti D'Beck's energy is a renewable resource. Girlfriend could power a small town. She's awesome, and she brings some serious Broadway credits to Barksdale.

Meanwhile, Director James Ricks has been going full steam ahead with preparations for our production of RICHARD III at Henley Street Theatre. The casting is complete, and I will say that now that this thing is going to happen, I'm starting to feel that trepidation that one must feel before one jumps out of an airplane. It is going to be hard work, this one, but I'm really looking forward to us pulling off something special, provocative, and unique.

On the athletic front, Jennie and I will be running the Richmond XTERRA on June 14th at Brown's Island. Jennie will be doing the XTERRA 10k (6.2 Miles) and I'll be doing the XDURO 21k (13.1 Miles). They are both Trail Races, with a high degree of challenging obstacles in the summer heat. I'm still looking towards the NORTH FACE ENDURANCE CHALLENGE 50-Miler in the fall, and the XDURO will be my first trail race since the Sixth Grade. Color me excited!!

Well, that's it for now-- I should be blogging with a little more regularity on things like sports, movies, music and life pretty soon. I'll have more stuff coming more often, so stay tuned!!

Best,

Scott Wichmann

Thursday, March 20, 2008

SCOTT WICHMANN, MARATHON MAN!!!



I did it.

The Shamrock Marathon Virginia Beach.

Sunday, March 16th, 2008. My first Marathon.

Twenty-Six Miles, Three-Hundred Eighty Five Yards.

I DID it.

Oh, man. It was AWESOME.

I started out pacing myself really well-- Resisted the urge to speed up and just took it easy, running like a ten-minute pace; I hung out with the 4:15 Pace group at the start, then moved ahead of them at the midpoint... I loaded up on Gatorade early at every Aid station, and I also had my fuel belt. I brought two Powerade gels with me.

I used the port-a-john at mile 16 (I hadda go bafroom BAD) and then labored a bit through mile 17, victim of negative mental strife--perhaps the worst bi-product of any endurance event-- at which point I actually practiced Vipassana Meditation techniques-- centered on the breath-- and got through it.
(Thank you, Buddha!!)

I stuck to my plan, taking a gel with water at mile 18 and another at Mile 22, then got a major boost and hung in with the 4:15 pace crew through mile 23, before slowing down a bit the last three miles. I was just thinking, "One more mile. One more mile..." It was hard. Really hard. I have a newfound respect for the distance, the effort & the work ethic of those who run this thing at such insanely fast paces...

I gave it a strong finishing kick, and pumped up the crowd the last 100 yards or so. They were all cheering, and I took off my Sox cap and played to the crowd like I was Carl Yastrzemski!!

I had a blast.

I finished the 26.2 mile course with a time of 4:20:42, not bad for my first try. I guess I should say that--in all seriousness--I was a little bummed about my time, but I had been training by running my Long Runs at about a 4:30 Overall Marathon pace, so I guess I can count it as a ten-minute win!! Another plus for me is the fact that I never broke stride or stopped to walk (other than using the port-o-john) and I pushed it in the final few-hundred yards.

Now that I know how hard it is to actually finish, I want to get under 4:00 next time and just keep working hard each time out. I'll get to Boston one day, no matter if I'm Johnny Kelley's age when I do!!

All in all, in terms of setting a goal, sticking to a plan, overcoming fatigue and injuries, learning new things about my body and how it responds-- It was One of the best days OF MY LIFE!!!

I'm a MARATHON MAN!!! WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!

So, up next, me and Jennie are running the Henrico 5K on Saturday. My body responded really well to the rest the last four days, and I just did an easy two miler with a time of 16:08 this afternoon-- Just to see where I'm at. I'm currently trying to do lots of stretching, eating lots of pasta, and catching up on my sleep.

Now, my plan is-- brace yourself, folks--to work really hard all summer for my first ULTRAMARATHON. I'm running the 'North Face Endurance Challenge' 50-mile Race in DC on September 6th, in order to raise money for The Richmond Theatre Artists Fund... it's an emergency fund for theatre folk-- actors, designers, directors-- who have health emergencies and stuff. It is really important to the artists in this community. (I just hope I don't need to 'dip into the fund' as a result of the medical expenses I incur from running the race LOL!!!)

After that, I'm shooting for the Richmond Marathon on November 15th.

As for the '50-Miler,' I KNOW I can do it. Moreover, I WILL do it.

I'll have to train smart, train hard & get in the right mindset. Work on strengthening the core, hip & leg flexors & extensors, and break the race down into small pieces. Practice eating carbo-loaded food while running (pb&j, energy bars, pretzels, etc) and make a fuel plan for it.

I want to thank my wife, Jennifer for her help, support, and encouragement. She ran a few blocks with me at the end, and even endured a really bad stomach ache on race day, but she was there waiting for me in the cold with the camera, taking pictures and cheering me on.

I also want to thank Joy Williams for providing the inspiration to run this thing. Joy and I were in 'Moonlight and Magnolias' recently, and on the day of the Richmond Marathon last year, Joy was about two miles away from the finish line when she popped into rehearsals-- at Theatre IV's downtown space-- in her race gear and said "I just want to say hi!!" I was stunned and inspired that this incredible woman could find the strength and energy to pop into the rehearsal hall at mile 23 of a Marathon. Unbelievable.

And lastly, a special thanks to my friend, Floyd Atkins, the 'Race Guru' in Seattle, Washington. The one thing Floyd said that resonated with me the most was "Run the race, don't let the race run you." If I had a mantra going into it, that was it.

I could hear that in my head the entire time. Thanks, buddy.

I'm freaking addicted now. I just had the time of my life.

This is just the beginning.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Role of A Lifetime at Henley Street Theatre.


"I can add colors to the chameleon,
change shape with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.

Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it further off, I'll pluck it down."


I remember November of 1997. I was working as a day laborer for my cousin's construction business in Leesburg, VA. I toiled from sunup to sundown, laying bricks and doing spot-work with a group of migrant workers who didn't speak much English. I was reading a lot of Shakespeare at the time, and I kept practicing the above speech of Richard's from Henry VI, Part 3, Act III Scene ii. Over and over again. The guys I worked with just kind of stared at me. Either it was the language barrier, or I must have really sucked.

At the time, I had just finished a run as 'Northrup' at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and I was staying with my cousin to plot my next move and make (very little) money. I was also sending out headshots and resumes all over the place, but no one was hiring me, much less inviting me to audition for anything. It was truly 'The Winter of my discontent.' I felt like I couldn't get arrested if I tried. Things weren't going my way. A production of Cabaret-- that I was almost involved with-- became extended as a tour, and eventually moved from Sheffield MA to Boston, netting the non-union cast members their AEA Memberships, while I looked on enviously from a construction site in Virginia. Bad times.

Desperate to do some good work, I sent a headshot/resume to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, one town over from my hometown of Pittsfield. I placed a follow-up call to see if they got my materials, only to be told by someone there:

"I'm sorry, but we don't hire any actors who haven't completed our training course."

"Well, excuse ME!" I thought. I felt stonewalled at every turn, frustrated, and eager to prove myself. I was renting Shakespeare movies at night-- Olivier's 'Hamlet,' all the Kenneth Branaugh films, from Henry V to Hamlet to Much Ado-- and digging ditches and moving equipment by day. I bought a book of all of Shakespeare's plays and immersed myself in them, chewing up speeches and dreaming of playing everything in the canon while I cleaned up during walk-thrus of overpriced houses made for rich people I would never meet. I was very unhappy. All I wanted was to be taken seriously as an actor. I wanted to do good work in an environment where I felt comfortable and welcome. And I wanted to play many roles in Shakespeare's works, and I wanted to do them justice.

Eventually, I landed in Richmond, VA. I soon began a great working relationship with many theatres in town, including The Richmond Shakespeare Festival. Before I knew it, I had a job playing 'Malvolio' in a tour of Twelfth Night where I started dating my 'Olivia,' a sweet gal by the name of Jennifer Meharg, who is now my wife. As I write this almost 11 years later, I have added to my Shakespeare credits: Don Pedro in Much Ado, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, The Gravedigger in Hamlet, Stephano in The Tempest, Bottom in Midsummer (Twice!!) and Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew.

Quite a lineup for a guy who just a few short years prior was told he'd have to take classes in order to play with the other kids, no? Looking back, it is quite a mix. I played the statesman, the warrior, the jester, the death-dealer, the villain, the Ass (TWICE!!) and the Clown. Of course, all along, there was still one role I was dying to play. The character whose speeches I muttered under my breath as I carried a wheelbarrow full of bricks beside a tired old Guatemalan man who was probably wishing I would just shut up. One role that I always felt would combine aspects of all of the ones listed above. One role of which I always said, "I've got to do this someday, and do it WELL."

The role I wanted to do most of all?

Richard III.

It has often been called 'The Character Actor's Hamlet.' A tour-de force role that puts enormous physical, vocal and emotional demands on anyone who attempts it. Some of the best actors in the world have thrown themselves into it. Burbage. Olivier. Barrymore. Ian Holm. Ron Cook. Anthony Sher. Al Pacino. Robert Lindsay. Ian McKellan. Plus countless others who aren't household names, but whose artistic lives have surely been made more frustratingly wonderful by their time spent hacking through the 'Thorny Wood' of Richard's 'Inductions Dangerous.' Here in Richmond, the fantastic actor Rick Brandt danced with the crooked-backed 'Ultimate Bad Guy' in a 2003 Richmond Shakespeare Production, to sparkling notices.

Now, thanks to James Ricks, Alex Previtera and The Henley Street Theatre Company, I'll finally get my chance. I just hope I'm up to the task.

This fall, just in time for the 2008 Election cycle, I will attempt to bring Richard, Duke of Gloucester back to life under the direction of James Ricks at the brand new Henley Street Theatre Company. Director James Ricks and Artistic Director Alex Previtera, are really enthusiastic about bringing this production to the Richmond Theatre Audience.

James Ricks has perhaps the most tireless work ethic I have ever seen. His passion for this project has been unbelievable. James has spent almost a year and a half laying the groundwork and honing in on just what he wants this production to say, while finding a suitable home for it to grow. Well, after a lengthy search, Henley Street Theatre Company is the place. And we couldn't be happier about that.

I've known James Ricks for about two years now, since we worked together on SCAPINO! He is one of the most intelligent, intuitive, talented and passionate actors I know. His Hotspur in last year's production of Henry IV, Part One was the performance of the year in Richmond. James is a real gentleman-- an incredibly fun and funny guy to be around-- and, for real, my boy is Wicked Smahhht. He also likes my Mac N' Cheese. At least I think he does. He seemed to... He ate it all, I think.

Oh, yeah, he also likes hockey. Just not the Boston Bruins. The Bastid.

Anyway, I was able to see the fantastic Richmond Shakespeare Company production of Richard The Second that James directed last October, and I was blown away by his incredibly clear and passionate storytelling. The urgency and electricity of Shakespeare's language came to life with vitality and clarity. I look forward to working with him, and one thing is for certain: If I want to do well, I'd better do my freaking homework.

James' vision for communicating this classic story is fresh, original, first-rate, and above all TIMELY. The conversation this production should spark-- a lively discussion about power and media manipulation-- is going to be reeeeeally interesting.

I look forward to the challenge of finally playing Richard III, and I thank Alex Previtera and the Henley Street Theatre Company for their continuing mission to bring vibrant reinterpretations of classic plays to Richmond audiences. I think that Richard III will be something very special.

"I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die!!"
-R III, Act V Scene v


Richard III opens September 26th, 2008 and runs through October 18th, 2008 at Henley Street Theatre Company. Details will be available soon at www.Henleystreettheatre.org.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl XLII: A Family Affair.



Somewhere, Ben Bates is grinning ear-to-ear.

It's difficult to write about the events of last night's Super Bowl. The months leading up to it, for me as a diehard New England Patriots fan, had been a non-stop whirlwind of emotion. This has been a football season like no other; A very special and memorable one. It is easy to overlook that right now. In the aftermath of what is surely one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets of all time, a lot of Pats fans have thrown up their hands as if to say "Aww Crap!! The entire season is a waste."

Not me.

Ever watch your favorite baseball team's pitcher try and throw a no-hitter? It's an intense, harrowing experience. You realize something special is happening, and you agonize over every pitch, every two-strike count, every ball put in play. You're literally on the edge of your seat, taking special care not to alter or veer from your game-watching routine. Maybe you have a favorite seat (I do) a favorite hat (I do) and a favorite beverage (I do) which accompanies the game-watching experience. It's exhausting. But when your team comes through-- like the Red Sox did in preserving rookie Clay Bucholz's no-hitter this past summer-- (Not to mention that little World Series They WON!!) the emotional payoff is indescribable. It's weird; You almost feel as though you affected the outcome in some small way because you concentrated so hard, maybe you wore your lucky unwashed-in-two-months jersey, or text messaged the same people during the game... Maybe a legion of Sox fans affected the 'Quantum field' or something. OR, maybe a talented bunch of professional athletes achieved something through hard work and dedication... Whatever. Semantics. The point is, when you're a fan, a TRUE fan-- you pour your heart and soul out for your team. You live and die with every pitch, every bounce of the ball. Especially when something special, like the aforementioned no-hitter, is unfolding.

For me, this past Patriots season was like watching a Five-month no-hitter develop. Along the way, my Pats set new records for scoring; Caused a media firestorm when they got busted for spying on the New York Jest-- err, Jets-- with video cameras (even though a Jets employee was removed from the second deck of Gilette Stadium in Foxboro last season for almost the exact same offense. whatever. I'm not in the least bit bitter at the total disinterest the media showed that wrinkle in the story); They pissed off every other fan base with their horrifying penchant for playing sixty minutes of football; Pulled off a steal of a deal with the hated Raiders for the rights to malcontent wideout Randy Moss, who had a career year AND finally became a solid citizen until being accused of assaulting a woman in Florida during the playoffs. Oops.; And I drank the Kool Aid as the Pats basically became the galactic Empire (Complete with Hooded Sith Lord Head Coach!! FULLY POSEABLE!), while turning the opposition's escalating verbal jabs into what Bobby Boucher from the movie 'The WaterBoy' would call "Tacklin' Fuel."

And for nearly five months, they didn't lose a game. FIVE MONTHS. They took all comers, defending Super Bowl Champs, playoff teams, also-rans, and yes, even the lowly Jets and their no-good-rat-fink-head-coach-Eric Mangini.

In the wake of the Red Sox' World Series Championship, It became an obsession for me to see the Patriots go for a perfect 19-0 Championship season. The run of good fortune bestowed on us New England Fans-- in all sports-- seemed so unreal, so absolutely fantastic. I'm still really excited about all of it, despite the Super Bowl defeat. The New England Revolution Soccer team went to the finals of the MLS cup. Boston College was ranked Number Two for like two weeks and beat VA Tech with an amazing comeback in the final two minutes. The Celtics rattled off nine straight wins, and as we speak, they're tops in the NBA. Just last week, the Sox played keep-away with the Yankees in trade talks with the Twins and effectively muscled Johan Santana out of the AL altogether.

It is still a freakin' sweet time to be a New England sports fan.

It's a cool phenomenon. During the Pats streak, My friends would see me coming, wearing my Pats hat or my Red Sox jacket and start shaking their heads as if to say "You smug Bastid." I was really digging it. I still am, although the Pats bubble got burst and the chant of "18 & ONE!!" has probably supplanted "1918" in the New York Sport Derision Lexicon. (An actual document, I'm told. I should check B&N.com... I digress) That's okay. New Yorkers needed something like this to happen... desperately, trust me.

But here's where the Patriots' Road to Glory differed from all other sports teams, at least for me: The Pats roll not only got me fired up as a fan-- It inspired me to try new things and test myself. As I write this, I'm almost five weeks away from my very first Marathon, and I've pushed myself really hard during workouts and long runs --three, in particular, of 18, 20 and 22 miles-- simply by imagining the effort being expended by guys like Linebacker Tedy Bruschi (who came back to play at age 32 after a terrifying heart episode left him almost paralyzed a few years back) Linebacker Junior Seau, Fullback Kevin Faulk, and Tough-as-nails QB Tom Brady. Whenever I got weary, I told myself, "I can go one more mile-- because so can the Pats." It sounds really lame and cheesy, but I found some mental toughness developing on those 6am Saturday long runs, while wearing my Navy blue winter hat with the Patriot logo and what my wife Jennie calls the "Racing Stripe." I kept hearing Brady as he implored his team on the sidelines:

"Be Sharp! Rise Up, all right? Take it to another level!!"

That's what I'm trying to do, in all areas of my life.

So, I was along for the ride with this bunch, and I took every slight against them personally, adopting Coach Bill Belichick's 'us-against-the-world Bunker Mentality' and firing salvos right back at those who dared disparage the Pats. I got into it with Diehard 'Skins Fan Andrew Hamm over 'runupthescoregate.' I parsed the 'SpyGate' defense arguments better than Johnny Cochran ever could, and I interrupted two employees in a Kroger Parking lot to tell them "Sorry guys, but Dallas is Toast, baby." That is so unlike me. Heck, I even called Senator Arlen Spector's office to harangue some poor intern about the Eagles-fan-extraordinaire Spector's move to make NFL Czar Roger Goodell testify on Capitol Hill about the league's disposal of the Pats' seized Death Star Plans-- Err, Spy Videotape.

So yeah, I was a bit 'INTO IT.'

But when I saw that the Patriots would be playing the New York Giants in Super Bowl Forty-Two, I said, "Oh, shit," and did a double-take.

See, the New York Football Giants are Ben Bates' team.

Ben Bates is my Grandfather. He was the biggest Giants fan of them all.

Ben Bates loved the Giants with his heart and soul, ever since he was a kid growing up in Pittsfield Mass. New England had no NFL Frachise when Ben was growing up, so in 1959 the upstart American Football League gave birth to the Boston Patriots, who played their games in Fenway Park for awhile before ending up in Foxboro, Mass in 1971. But Ben's heart always belonged to the New York Football Giants. Every Christmas it was easy to pick out something for him. (I think I bough him three Giants hats in my lifetime on different holidays.)

Ben Bates was in his glory when, in 1986, the NY Giant beat John Elway's Denver Broncos 39-20 to end their long NFL Title drought. I think I still have the videotape he made of the game. He loved Lawrence Taylor and that badass in-your-face defense. (He was a badass, in-your-face guy, so it was a good fit.) Those teams had a great pass rush; A stellar game-manager at QB (Phil Simms); and a great receiving corps, headlined by Tight End Mark Bavaro, another of Gramp's favorites, of whom he said "Bavaro is one tough sonofabitch." (The highest form of praise from Mr Bates.)

He gloated mightily when the 'Jints' survived to win Super Bowl Twenty-five over the favored Buffalo Bills, 20-19. ("Norwood's kick is Wide Right!! Wide Right!!") And through it all, Ben Bates absolutely WORSHIPPED the ground Giants Head Coach Bill Parcells walked on. I can hear him now: "Parcells is the best coach in the Goddamn LEAGUE!! You can't run on the Giants, no sir!! That's New York GIANT Football!"

Now for those of you who don't know, Bill Parcells eventually left the Giants to work in the NBC broadcast booth. But, as luck would have it, "the best coach in the Goddamn League" wound up as head Coach of my team, the New England Patriots, in 1993. His first move was to draft Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, and the team actually started to show promise. They began to play like the Giants played. Strong defense, Solid Running Game, strong secondary, good special teams play.

Over Christmas break in 1993, I took a video camera over to my aunt's house and caught him on camera briefly. In hindsight, Something amazing happened. Ben Bates says, prophetically, as he looks right into the camera "I give New England TEN YEARS. They'll win it all in TEN YEARS, after Parcells steals all the Giants players."

After four years, Big Ben was half-right. Parcells stole D-back Otis Smith, 'all-everything' Dave Meggett, and a host of other players and coaches from the Giants, including assistant Coach and Defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, who, in 1997, helped the Pats reach Super Bowl Thirty One, which they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. They may have lost the big one, but by then the Pats had undergone a startling transformation, and they began to play championship-caliber football, or as Grampy called it "New York Giant Football."

The Giants made it to the Big Dance again in the year 2001, eventually losing Super Bowl Thirty-Five to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-7. I rooted for the Giants in that one (My Patriots went 5-11 that year) but by that time I was living in Virginia while Grampy was back in Pittsfield, slowly suffering from the degenerative effects of a stroke which he suffered in 1994 after a routine procedure to clear a blockage in an artery in his neck. That Super Bowl in 2001 was the last one he would ever see. The Giants lost the game, and four months later, they lost their biggest fan when Ben Bates passed away on May 29th, 2001.

Later that year, something amazing happened. The Patriots, who had finished the previous season a woeful 5-11, started to play with a familiar style. They developed a strong pass rush, a ball-hawking defensive secondary, and late in the season, they caught fire. In a late November game, they played the St Louis Rams, the explosive 'Greatest Show on Turf' and almost came away with a win. It was the kind of game that boosts a team's confidence, and they rode that momentum into the playoffs, where they won an overtime game in a howling snowstorm, bested another heavily-favored team in a pivotal road playoff game, and advanced to take on the heavily-favored Rams again, in Super Bowl Thirty-Six on February 2nd, 2002. This time the Pats newfound confidence served them well. They pressured the Quarterback, Kurt Warner ('Knocked the shit out of him,' to be precise) got a few turnovers, hung in there, withstood a late surge from the Rams, and engineered a last-second drive for the ages.

As Adam Vinatieri sent his potential game-winning field-goal skyward as time expired six years ago, my first thought was of my Grandfather, of his video prediction that the Pats would "win it all in ten years." I also thought how amazing it was that the fortunes of our favorite teams teams had been so intertwined through the years. Seconds later, as the kick split the uprights, the Patriots had won Super Bowl Thirty-Six. The main reason: Because they had learned how to play "New York Giant Football."

Over the years, my beloved Patriots would become something of a min-dynasty in the NFL, winning two more championships and setting a really high level of excellence for themselves. This past year, however, they changed to become a more offensive-minded bunch, and blew every scoring record in the books out of the water. They won eighteen straight games. The sky was the limit for this bunch. Boston Globe Columnist Dan Shaughnessy took to calling them "The History Boys."

The Giants were coached by Tom Coughlin, a Parcells disciple and the receivers coach on the '86 and '90 Giants' Super Bowl teams that my Grandfather loved so much. Coughlin's job-security had been wondered about publicly. There was dissention in the Giants' clubhouse. The Quarterback, Eli Manning, was perceived as aloof and mistake-prone. Their star running back, Tiki Barber, retired abruptly before the season started. The prognosis for a winning season in New York did not look good.

Then, this year, something amazing happened. The Giants-- who had finished the previous season 8-8 and losing a wild-card playoff game-- started to play with a familiar style. They developed a strong pass rush, a three-headed running game, and late in the season, they caught fire. In a late December game, they played the New England Patriots, the explosive 'Greatest Team of All-Time' and almost came away with a win. It was the kind of game that boosts a team's confidence, and they rode that momentum into the playoffs, where they won an overtime game in a howling snowstorm, bested another heavily-favored team in a pivotal road playoff game, and advanced to take on the heavily-favored Pats again, in Super Bowl Forty-Two on February 3rd, 2008. This time the 'Jints' newfound confidence served them well. They pressured the Quarterback, Tom Brady ('Knocked the shit out of him,' to be precise) got a few bounces, hung in there, withstood a late surge from the Pats, and engineered a last-second drive for the ages.

As Eli Manning hit wideout Plaxico Burress who juked Pats' CB Ellis Hobbes on a fade route with :39 seconds left, I thought of my Grandfather, and how much fun he would be having, even as my stomach fell through the floor.

So last night, Super Bowl Forty-Two was something of a family affair. My Aunt and my Mother both rooted for the Giants, and I, of course, rooted for the Patriots. Even my wife Jennie was into it, yelling at Pats receiver Wes Welker to "Go! Go!! Run!!"

And I wanted it. I wanted it so badly, one can hardly believe it. I could taste it when Brady hit Randy Moss for the go-ahead score with 2:45 left in the Fourth Quarter. The Patriots were going to be 19-0.

It was an amazing game.

The Pats were on the verge of perfection, but Eli and he Giants stole it from them by playing hard for sixty full minutes. The Giants won by Playing 'New England Patriots Football.' If it were anybody else-- any other team-- I'd probably be angry or upset about the loss, But somehow this loss doesn't sting quite as as badly as it should. It's really odd. Especially since so much was at stake; The perfect record, etc. I've never had this feeling about a sporting event before-- I'm holding two opposite emotions in my heart at he same time. I'm emotionally 'crushed' but I'm somehow reassured that something absolutely wonderful happened for lots of people who love the Giants just as much as my Grandfather did.

So today, I talked with my Mom on the phone. She was in such a good mood that it put me in one, too... Even as I wandered around with the "What the hell just happened?" face all day. I told her that I though it would be a good idea if someone could place a NY GIANTS SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS Pennant by my Grandfather's headstone in Hinsdale, Mass. She liked that idea. So do I.

So, I'm happy. Even though we lost everything. The whole season, the 19-0 dream. All of it. I'm not sure exactly why...I'm happy.

Perhaps because I know that somewhere out there, my Grandfather, Ben Bates, is watching all of this and loving every minute of it. And what can I say? I love my Grandfather more than any football team... Even the Patriots.

I can hear Tom Brady now, saying "Be Sharp! Rise Up, all right? Take it to another level!!"

I think I finally know what that really means.