A photo of a man wearing a black leather jacket with studs and patches standing on a theater stage.
Lukas D’Errico in VCUarts Theatre’s spring 2023 production of “Rent.” (Courtesy photo)

Class of 2024: VCUarts actor Lukas D’Errico going from one stage to another

Straight from graduation, he will head again to local theater – and later to New York City.

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After the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts graduation ceremony on May 10, Lukas D’Errico is heading to the theater. Immediately.

“Literally, as soon as I graduate, I’ll be going into opening night for ‘Roman à Clef,’” the theatre performance major said. It will be the official world premiere, after two preview performances, of the new work from Richmond playwright Chandler Hubbard, and it runs through May at The New Theatre at Firehouse.

D’Errico, who charted a circuitous route to VCUarts from his home in Northern Virginia, has made quite the name for himself in the Richmond theater community. He received glowing reviews for his first paid gig — at Richmond Triangle Players — as Adam and Leo in 2022’s “The Inheritance,” a nearly seven-hour play that culminates in a conversation with him playing both roles at the same time. Style Weekly called him a “dashing young VCU student … [who] had to capture innocence, street smarts and pathos in a bravura performance.”

In 2023, D’Errico won the Richmond Theatre Community Circle award for breakout performance.

“I’ve gotten so much more than I thought I would ever get out of Richmond,” he said. “That’s why I chose VCU. I was like, I can definitely do some theater on the side, but I never even remotely thought of how much I would get to do and how much I would grow from it – and the immense opportunity that’s been given to me.”

But had the stars not aligned just right, D’Errico wouldn’t have come to VCU or even pursued acting.

His very first performance was in a sixth-grade production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” as a member of the ensemble. He only auditioned because his twin sister wanted to.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know. OK, I’ll do it,’ because we just did everything together,” he said.

“Cinderella” led to more middle school plays and then community theater.

Around high school, his sister lost interest in acting, but by then, D’Errico was hooked.

“Sophomore year, as the number of men in the [theater] department started dwindling, I started getting more leading roles,” he said, such as Tom Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie,” Demetrius in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Mike Costa in “A Chorus Line.”

A photo of a man from the shoulders up. He is wearing a brown t-shirt and a yellow cardigan.
As an up-and-coming actor, Lukas D’Errico said he is “thankful for the people I’ve gotten to work with and the people who have stuck their neck out for me.” (Courtesy photo)

By junior year of high school, D’Errico began to seriously consider studying acting after graduating.

“Acting … has just kind of always been what I’ve done,” he said, modestly adding, “and I think I’m pretty good at it.”

VCU wasn’t initially in D’Errico’s script. He planned to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, to which he was accepted his junior year of high school. He also expected to take a gap year and intern on the West Coast with talent scout/producer Peter Sklar, who runs workshops for young performers and scouted up-and-comers in the 1980s and ’90s, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon.

“I wasn’t even really thinking about school anymore at that point,” D’Errico said. “I was kind of like, ‘Oh, I’m just going to move into the city and [be an actor],’ which is such an 18-year-old mindset.”

But the COVID-19 pandemic’s arrivals in spring 2020 scuttled those plans, so D’Errico returned home to Northern Virginia and applied to VCU. “I was super late with my theatre audition. I actually submitted a self-tape past the deadline and they accepted me, which was fantastic.”

At the end of this summer, D’Errico once again plans to move to New York, but this time as a seasoned 22-year-old.

“I’ve never felt more ready and confident for anything,” he said. “I’m just so, so thankful for the people I’ve gotten to work with and the people who have stuck their neck out for me,” such as “The Inheritance” director and VCUarts alum Lucian Restivo, VCUarts artistic director Sharon Ott and theatre professor Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D.

“The people who have trusted and believed in me and lifted me up – I would like to emphasize how grateful I am for the professors at VCU and what I’ve learned,” D’Errico said, “and really just the Richmond community and how much has been given to me.”