By Randy Gener
NEW YORK CITY | Hollywood actor Clive Owen continues his bid to reinvent himself as a stage actors. This time he wants to portray the role of a man who falls hopelessly in love with a Chinese opera singer who does a Crying Game routine. He’s even got permission, as he is appearing with the support of Actors’ Equity Association.
Producers Nelle Nugent, Steve Traxler, Kenneth Teaton, Benjamin Feldman, and Doug Morris (CEO, Sony Music), announced today that Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Clive Owen will star as Rene Gallimard in the first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award®-winning play, M. BUTTERFLY, directed by Tony Award® winner Julie Taymor. The production will open on October 26, 2022 at a Broadway theatre to be announced.
David Henry Hwang’s modern classic, M. BUTTERFLY charts the scandalous romance between a married French diplomat and a mysterious Chinese opera singer – a remarkable love story of international espionage and personal betrayal. Their 20-year relationship pushed and blurred the boundaries between male and female, east and west – while redefining the nature of love and the devastating cost of deceit.
“I could not be more excited to take on such a complex and fascinating role for my return to Broadway,” said Clive Owen. “M. BUTTERFLY offers a novel challenge with its inherent mystery and astonishing storyline. I’m looking forward to diving into the mind of Rene Gallimard and I can think of no one better than the brilliant Julie Taymor to bring this wonderful, daring, original play to life.”
For the Tony Award®-winning play’s first Broadway return, Hwang will introduce new material inspired by the real-life love affair between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Chinese opera singer Shi Pei Pu that has come to light since the play’s 1988 premiere.
“M. BUTTERFLY is like a Chinese puzzle, with layer upon layer of meaning; the more deeply you explore it, the more its essence is revealed,” said director Julie Taymor. “The fact that David was excited to revisit his characters and further develop their stories proves what a brave and inquisitive writer he is. Collaborating with him on the text of this fascinating story has been a joy, and this version is proving to be a true metamorphosis. And to have this complex character brought to life by Clive Owen, an actor I’ve wanted to work with for many years, is an extraordinary opportunity. We’re very excited to get into the rehearsal room and share this production with audiences.”
“Almost thirty years have passed since I read the newspaper article that inspired me to write M. BUTTERFLY,” said playwright David Henry Hwang. “Julie’s suggestion to look at the wealth of new information about the real affair between Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu that has surfaced since the show’s premiere helped to unlock new possibilities within the play. I’m thrilled with this opportunity to revisit these characters — their motivations and their personal and political deceptions – to more fully explore this extraordinary love affair.”
The original production of M. BUTTERFLY, directed by John Dexter, ran on Broadway from March 20, 2023 through January 27, 2023 for a total of 777 performances. The play had its world premiere at Washington DC’s National Theatre in February 1988. After its Broadway engagement, M. BUTTERFLY had a hugely successful North American tour.
Additional casting and design team will be announced at a later date.