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Joanie Schultz directs the Chicago Premiere of the Broadway Smash Sensation, March 8 – April 13, 2014; tickets on sale January 24

CHICAGO, IL – 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 GoodmanTheatre.org/Venus, by phone at 312.443.3800 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 the New 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.

David Ives (Playwright) is the author of the one-act comedies All in the Timing (Outer Critics Circle Award) and Time Flies. His full-length plays include The School For Lies (adapted from Moliere’s The Misanthrope, Classic Stage Company), The Heir Apparent (adapted from J-F Regnard’s comedy, Shakespeare Theatre Company), New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza (Hull-Warriner Award), Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain), White Christmas, Polish Joke and Ancient History. He has translated Feydeau’s classic farce A Flea in Her Ear, Yazmina Reza’s drama A Spanish Play and Pierre Corneille’s 1643 comedy The Liar. He is the author of three young-adult novels: Monsieur Eek, Scrib and Voss, and he has adapted 32 American musicals for New York City’s beloved Encores! series. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and a former Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting.

Joanie Schultz (Director) is a Chicago-based freelance director. She previously directed the workshop production of Ask Aunt Susan for the 2011/2012 New Stages Festival. Recent credits include the Chicago premiere of The Whale at Victory Gardens; Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey at Remy Bumppo; Neighborhood 3 at Strawdog Theatre; and Luther at Steep Theatre, where she is an artistic associate and previously directed The Receptionist, A Brief History of Helen of Troy and the Jeff Award-winning In Arabia We’d All be Kings. Other credits include the world premiere of fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life at Steppenwolf Theatre for Young Adults; The Girl in the Yellow Dress at Next Theatre; the Jeff nominated production of The Kid Thing, a co-production of About Face Theatre and Chicago Dramatists; The Metal Children at Next Theatre; Wreckage and Many Loves for Caffeine Theatre; Shining City for Redtwist Theatre; The Ring Cycle for the Building Stage; and A Perfect Wedding and Stone Cold Dead Serious for Circle Theatre. She has also directed the operas Acis and Galatea at Chicago Cultural Center, which was also the first fully staged opera on the Pritzker Pavilion Stage in Millennium Park; Suor Angelica for Italian Operatic Experience in Tuscany; and Carmen for the Bay View Music Festival. Schultz holds an MFA in directing from Northwestern University; was a New York Drama League Fellow; The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellow; the SDC Denham Fellow; was a participant in the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab; currently teaches directing at Columbia College Chicago; and is an artistic associate with Victory Gardens Theater. She was also the 2013 Co-Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake, Chicago Park District’s summer theater showcase.

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