Rufus Collins and Amanda Drinkall Set to Lead Goodman Theatre's VENUS IN FUR

Goodman Theatre heats up 2014 with Venus in Fur-a "smart, sexy, sinister comedy" (Vogue) and "suspense-packed study of the erotics (and the semiotics) of power" (New York Times)-penned by theatrical mastermind David Ives. In her Goodman mainstage debut, Joanie Schultz directs the Chicago premiere production of the Broadway triumph that earned two Tony nominations, two Drama League nominations and a Drama Desk nomination. Rufus Collins (Broadway's The Royal Family and To Be or Not To Be) portrays playwright/director Thomas Novachek and Amanda Drinkall (Great Expectations at Strawdog Theatre Company, Measure for Measure at the Goodman;) portrays Vanda Jordan-the preternaturally talented actress whose audition for the gifted-but-demanding playwright/director's new work becomes an electrifying game of cat and mouse that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex. The design team includes Todd Rosenthal (set), Mikhail Fiksel (sound), Jenny Mannis (costumes) and Keith Parham (lights). Alden Vasquez is the production stage manager and Kathleen Petroziello is the stage manager. Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room. Venus in Fur runs March 8 - April 13 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, March 18). Tickets ($25-$86; subject to change) go on sale January 24, 2014 and can be purchased at, by phone at312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor for Venus in Fur.

"Joanie is a rising star director who has steadily been making a name for herself all over town; we are thrilled to have her direct the Chicago premiere of Venus in Fur-a sexy, mesmerizing play by the talented David Ives," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "She's picked two actors who are perfectly suited to these dominating characters."

A former Maggio Directing Fellow for the Goodman, Schultz "has emerged as one of the city's strongest and most stylistically adaptable directors" (Chicago Sun-Times). She most recently directed The Whale at Victory Gardens, where she is an artistic associate, in a production hailed as "lean, raw and vital" (Chicago Tribune) and "a new height of efficiently heartwrenching storytelling (for Schultz)" (Time Out Chicago).

"David Ives' Venus in Fur is a taut masterpiece in its balance of tension, humor, mystery and sexiness. A play about an audition for a play, David has also created a sort of love note to the theater," said Joanie Schultz, whose previous work at the Goodman includes the workshop production of Seth Bockley's Ask Aunt Susan for the 2012 New Stages Festival. "I'm excited to share a glimpse of the magic that takes place in a rehearsal room in this exciting play with these brilliant actors."

Amanda Drinkall, who appeared in Falls' production of Measure for Measure last season, was recently included in the Chicago Tribune's Top 10 Performances of 2013 for her work in Great Expectations at Strawdog Theatre Company; Chief Critic Chris Jones hailed her "classy and complex, Drinkall had twin acting assignments; (she) seemed to capture both of them at once in strikingly profound ways." On working with Schultz and Venus in Fur, Drinkall remarked, "Besides being eager for the chance to dig into such an engaging script, I'm really looking forward to working with Joanie Schultz. I haven't had the privilege of collaborating with many female directors, so adding a woman of her caliber to the list is really exciting!"

On his Goodman and Chicago debut, New York-based Rufus Collins commented, "I got a taste of Joanie's inventive approach to this edgy sexy play during auditions and I'm thrilled to be collaborating with her and Amanda. The story of Thomas and Vanda is erotic, but it's also funny and dramatic. Our challenge is to bring out all the elements of this tantalizing script."

The Broadway production of Venus in Fur was counted among the "Best of 2011" by theNew York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and The Wall Street Journal, among others. On the heels of its Broadway run, the play was licensed for production in more than 40 regional theaters across the US and Canada, with plans underway for 26 different countries. When Vanda (Amanda Drinkall) arrives several hours late to her audition for a play-based on the nineteenth-century erotic novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch-the director, Thomas (Rufus Collins), is less than impressed. But Vanda's surprisingly masterful performance of the script flips Thomas' expectations and turns the session into a tango for dominance between actress and director, woman and man.

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