David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly Returns to Broadway Next Week

October 19, 2017

The first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play M. Butterfly is finally here. Starring Academy Award nominee Clive Owen and Jin Ha CC ’18, and under the direction of the visionary Julie Taymor the production started previews on October 7th at the Cort Theatre. The official opening is on October 26th. “Julie Taymor will take you on a journey that will leave you breathless—all through an exhilarating production featuring spectacular sets, thrilling choreography and dazzling stagecraft” the official website writes.


The play, written in 1988 starring John Lithgow and B.D. Wong, centers on a French diplomat’s affair with a Chinese opera singer who’s hiding a surprising secret. Owen will play the diplomat in an updated version of the play that Hwang wrote, using new material discovered about the historical story that inspired the show: "There is a certain amount of rewriting that I have done and will probably continue to do, but it will be up to people to decide how much they feel the play is different from the original" said Hwang in an interview.  And it seems that is a very fresh revival in deed. According to a recent New York Times article: "Mr. Hwang has made a new cat, and Ms. Taymor has put it in a very different bag. This M. Butterfly is the same play, but with significant changes to let it toy with our perceptions afresh". 


We're all intrigued and waiting for it, including Clive Owen, who shared his excitment in an interview Live With Kelly and Ryan. “It’s a really, really incredible story, one of the most amazing stories about a relationship I’ve ever read," Owen said. "There’s betrayal and intrigue, and I can’t give away some of the stuff because it will ruin the play.”


David Henry Hwang is an associate professor at Columbia and the head of Playwriting Concentration in the graduate Theatre program. Among his stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, and Golden Child. Hwang is a Tony© Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. He is also America’s most-produced living opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards. His newest show, Soft Power, with composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), to be directed by frequent collaborator Leigh Silverman, will premiere in spring 2018 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre.


Tickets for M. Butterfly are available (not for a long time) until February 25th and you can get them here.


Hwang and Taymor will also discuss their collaboration on M. Butterfly at Columbia’s Lenfest Center for the Arts Nov. 2.