Rick Foucheux: Everyman and Star
"I'm not a writer, and I think I'm only a fair painter. But when I get on stage, I feel like I have something to say."
– Rick Foucheux in an interview with the Washington Post
In the past decade, Rick Foucheux has taken the D.C. theater scene by storm. Both an everyman and a star, Foucheux has recently played Tevye at Olney Theatre and Willy Loman at Arena Stage. He now returns to Arena as R. Buckminster Fuller.
Born in Houma, La., Foucheux aspired to become a news broadcaster, but he also had a passion for the arts. He graduated from Nicholls State Univ., a state college between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where he minored in theater. After college, he landed several on-air news gigs from Nashville to Phoenix, until he moved to Washington, D.C., for greater career opportunities. In 1982, he got a job hosting Good Morning Washington, a half-hour talk show on WJLA-TV, the ABC Washington affiliate. However, one year later, the show was canceled and Foucheux was released from his contract.
Encouraged by his wife, M.J., Foucheux then turned to the stage. After all, as a broadcaster, he had been acting in front of a camera for years. He started performing in shows for community theater and emerging professional theater companies like Woolly Mammoth and Source Theatre. These experiences helped to flesh out the acting skills he had been honing since college. Foucheux had found his destiny.
But in 1992, Foucheux felt stalled in his Washington theater career. Frustrated at not being able to break into certain larger theaters, he took a four-year hiatus and concentrated more on the media and film work that had always been his bread and butter.
When Foucheux came back, as a more mature performer, the D.C. community recognized his talents and welcomed him warmly. In his return to Source Theatre, Foucheux played the title role in David Mamet's dark play Edmond and won the 2000 Helen Hayes Award for his performance. Six years later, he won another Helen Hayes for his role as a gay accountant in Take Me Out at Studio Theatre. Since then, he has appeared all over the D.C. area to great acclaim. When he starred in Death of a Salesman at Arena Stage in 2008, Jayne Blanchard of the Washington Times wrote, "Mr. Foucheux embodies the tragic aspects of Willy Loman in a towering performance that is notable for its sheer size and guts. His performance is one of the heartrending pleasures of Arena Stage's revival." In addition, Foucheux has acted in classical plays such as Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Theatre Company as well as new plays such as Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where he is a company member.
R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE will not be Foucheux's first one-man show. In 2007, he portrayed Elia Kazan, the director who infamously gave names of alleged communist sympathizers to the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the Red Scare. He also helped Leslie Kobylinski, who wrote and directed the production, to develop the piece at Round House Theatre.
Foucheux currently lives with M.J. and their daughters, Joanna and Nina, in Silver Spring, Md.
Extras & Insights is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.