Venus in Fur, About Power, Sex and Acting, Opens on Broadway With Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy

By Kenneth Jones
November 8, 2011

Venus in Fur, David Ives' two-character play about the relationship between a hungry actress and a controlling writer-director, opens Nov. 8 in its Broadway premiere following previews from Oct. 13, and after an acclaimed Off-Broadway debut in 2010. Nina Arianda returns to play Vanda, again under the direction of Walter Bobbie. 



Emmy Award nominee Hugh Dancy ("The Big C," Broadway's Journey's End) is new to the production, playing Thomas, a demanding theatre artist who has written a play based on the erotic novel "Venus in Fur." Vanda is a gifted actress who wants the lead role. Her audition is billed as "an electrifying game of cat and mouse blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex."

Manhattan Theatre Club is producing the play at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Directed by Tony Award winner Bobbie (Broadway's Chicago, Off-Broadway's recent The Submission), the production plays a limited ten-week engagement, with tickets on sale through Dec. 18.

The creative team includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Acme Sound Partners (sound design) and Thomas Schall (fight direction).

Venus in Fur is produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer) by special arrangement with Jon B. Platt, Scott Landis and Classic Stage Company.

Dancy made his Broadway debut in the 2008 Tony-winning revival of Journey's End. He returned to the New York stage in the 2009 production of The Pride, for which he received Lortel and Drama League Award nominations. Dancy also appeared in the West End production of To The Green Fields, directed by Sam Mendes. His film and TV credits include his Emmy-nominated role in the HBO miniseries “Elizabeth I,” the acclaimed film "Adam," "The Jane Austen Book Club" and "Evening." He can currently be seen in the second season of Showtime’s acclaimed series “The Big C.”

Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy
photo by Joan Marcus

Arianda earned a Best Actress Tony nomination for playing Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. She will be seen in the new fall film "Tower Heist," and appeared in the recent release of Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and Tom McCarthy's "Win Win." Arianda trained at AMDA in their studio program for acting and at the New School for Liberal Arts in New York, Eugene Lang division. She received her MFA from NYU's Tisch graduate acting program.

Venus in Fur had its world premiere by Classic Stage Company in January 2010, where it won raves and became a sold-out hit, extending twice at CSC's home on East 13th Street. The production received two Drama League nominations including Distinguished Production of a Play, an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, and three Lucille Lortel Award nominations. For the production, Arianda received a Theatre World Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, the Clive Barnes Award, and Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations. (For the record, Off-Broadway, Thomas was played by Wes Bentley.)

Playwright David Ives and director Walter Bobbie worked together on MTC's 2003 production of Ives' Polish Joke, which featured Bobbie. They also have a long history working together as playwright and director, on Encores! productions as well as The School for Lies and New Jerusalem.

Ives' work includes his evenings of one-act comedies called All in the Timing and Time Flies. His full-length plays also include Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); White Christmas; Polish Joke; and Ancient History, plus translations of A Flea in Her Ear, Yasmina Reza's drama A Spanish Play, Pierre Corneille's 1643 comedy The Liar (a hit this past spring at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC), and his adaptation of Moliere's The Misanthrope, which he retitled The School for Lies to acclaim at Classic Stage Company. He also adapted Regnard's The Heir Apparent for DC's Shakespeare Theatre. Ives is also the author of three young-adult novels: "Monsieur Eek," "Scrib" and "Voss," and he has adapted 30 American musicals for New York City's Encores! series.

Tickets are available by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, online by visiting www.Telecharge.com or by visiting the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Box Office (261 West 47th Street). Ticket prices are $57-$121.

For more information on MTC, visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

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