Venus in Fur, Starring Newly Minted Tony Winner Nina Arianda, Ends Limited Run on Broadway
By Kenneth Jones
Venus in Fur, David Ives' 2012 Tony Award-nominated dark comedy about a director auditioning a mysterious actress for a stage adaptation of an erotic novel, folds her arms at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre on June 17, a week after Nina Arianda won the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play.
This 151-performance commercial run of the Walter Bobbie-directed staging began Feb. 7 following a not-for-profit, fall Manhattan Theatre Club run on Broadway and a 2010 Off-Broadway world premiere by Classic Stage Company. Hugh Dancy is Arianda's co-star.
The commercial producers who wrapped their arms around Venus are Jon B. Platt, Scott Landis, Manhattan Theatre Club Productions, Inc. (Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove executive producer), Jessica R. Jenen, Scott M. Delman and Classic Stage Company. There is talk of a London run.
Tony winner Walter Bobbie (Broadway's Chicago, Off-Broadway's The Submission) directs the 100-minute play, set in a Manhattan rehearsal studio. As a thunderstorm booms outside, a quirky actress named Vanda swaps roles with a young adaptor-director, Thomas, whose play about sexual power and gender roles inspires tensions and passion in the room.
The play premiered in early 2010 in a production by Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company, with Arianda getting raves for her breakout performance (she was a recent NYU graduate at the time). Arianda was Tony Award-nominated for later playing Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. MTC picked up Venus in Fur for a limited engagement in its 2011-12 Broadway season at the Samuel J. Friedman. Critics embraced the play and production. Read Playbill.com's On Opening Night column from fall 2011.
Emmy Award nominee Dancy ("The Big C," Journey's End) joined the production in fall 2011; for the record, Wes Bentley created the role of Thomas Off-Broadway. Dancy will star as a detective in the new NBC TV series "Hannibal."
Here's how producers characterize Venus in Fur: "Vanda (Arianda) is a preternaturally talented young actress determined to land the lead in Thomas' (Dancy) new play based on the classic erotic novel, 'Venus in Fur.' Her emotionally-charged audition for the gifted but demanding playwright/director becomes an electrifying game of cat and mouse, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex."
The creative team for Venus in Fur includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Acme Sound Partners (sound design) and Thomas Schall (fight direction).
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 series "The Big C."
Arianda earned a 2011 Best Actress Tony nomination for playing Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. Her film credits include "Tower Heist," and 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.
The CSC staging of Venus in Fur won raves and became a sold-out hit, extending twice 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.
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.
The understudies for the Broadway run are Mark Alhadeff (TACT's The Memorandum, Incident at Vichy) and Liv Rooth (Blood and Gifts).
Tickets are on sale by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or at www.telecharge.com. The Lyceum Theatre is 149 W. 45th Street.
For more information, visit VenusInFurBroadway.com.
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