Nina Arianda: Venus in Fur

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Nina Arianda is the it-girl on Broadway — she’s nominated for a Tony for her performance in David Ives’ comedy Venus In Fur.  The show is a play within a play:  a writer has adapted an erotic novel for the stage, and he’s having a hell of a time casting the lead.  Enter Vanda: a sexy, sly actress who is by turns sultry and bombastic, and pretty much takes over the show. 

Playing a tenacious actress comes naturally.  “Failure is not an option,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “There are too many people who have killed themselves to help me — parents, teachers, coaches — and it would be a real shame if I didn’t do 100% of what I could.”

Arianda grew up in New Jersey and remembers her first performance at age 3: she recited a patriotic poem in Ukrainian to a packed house of Ukrainians.  “We practiced everything at home: the words, entrance and exit, curtseying,” she says. “The one thing we didn’t practice was receiving applause, which was mind-blowing to me.  My curtsying got out of hand.”


Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda in the Broadway production of 'Venus in Fur' (Joan Marcus) Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda in the Broadway production of Venus in Fur (Joan Marcus)

→ More conversations with 2012 Tony Award nominees

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