(CINCINNATI) – David Ives’ seductive play of gender politics and power VENUS IN FUR brings Broadway’s hottest date night to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Robert S. Marx Theatre April 19 through May 17.
Thomas is the playwright/director who has seen too many actresses he deems to be unsuited for the title role of his play, which is based on a 19th-century erotic masterpiece. After a frustrating day of auditions, in walks harried and tardy actress Vanda — and immediately Thomas and Vanda’s seesawing relationship takes off in a shower of frictionally dazzling sparks.
For Playhouse Associate Artist KJ Sanchez, who is directing VENUS IN FUR, the power play is the play’s attraction. “This is a well-matched game, and we watch Vanda and Thomas exploring, exploiting and teasing out many variations on power. “Vanda and Thomas delve into some notions that might be a bit risqué — but here’s the thing: What’s so great about this play is that we see how ‘normal’ people can drift into riskier relationships when chemistry gets involved. I think each of us has secret potential that can be unlocked by the right person. And that in itself is what both delights and challenges me.”
The steamy, intellectual dark comedy, which was inspired by Leopold Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel Venus in Furs, premiered off-Broadway in 2010. Its blockbuster Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club garnered a Tony nomination for best play. Its popularity is contagious — according to Theatre Communications Group, VENUS IN FUR is at the top of the list of most-produced plays by American regional theatres in the 2013-14 season (excluding Shakespeare and holiday-themed shows), with 22 productions scheduled. Ives’ plays include New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch De Spinoza, The School for Lies (adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope), The Liar (adapted from Corneille),
Time Flies and Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain). He is best known for VENUS IN FUR and his evening of six one-act plays, All in the Timing, which was produced at the Playhouse in 1996. Ives collaborated with director Roman Polanski for a film version of VENUS IN FUR, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and will make its North American debut at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in April. Heir Apparent, Ives’ adaptation of the Jean-Francois Regnard play, is slated to open off-Broadway in April for a limited engagement.
The Playhouse production of VENUS IN FUR features PJ Sosko as Thomas and Greta Wohlrabe as Vanda, both of whom are making their Playhouse debuts. The creative team includes set and costume designer Misha Kachman, lighting designer Kenton Yeager and sound designer Zach Williamson. Jenifer Morrow is the production stage manager; Andrea L. Shell is the second stage manager. Tickets for VENUS IN FUR range from $30 to $75, depending on seat location. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $25 each. A special Date Night Package — ticket in Price Zone 2, drink and dessert — is available for $64 per person; visit www.cincyplay.com for details and use promotion code DateNight. Previews are at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 20; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23. The official opening night is Thursday, April 24, at 8 p.m. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. Free post-show Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with cast members and others associated with the production will be offered at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11; and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 15. VENUS IN FUR will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.
Tickets to VENUS IN FUR are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility. VENUS IN FUR is sponsored by Tony Alper. The 2013-14 Robert S. Marx Theatre season is sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation, and Macy’s is the Robert S. Marx Theatre season design sponsor. The season sponsor of new work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation. The Playhouse is supported, in part, by the generosity of the tens of thousands of individuals and businesses that give to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.