Director Julie Taymor and actor Clive Owen will return to Broadway this fall with a revival of the 1988 Tony Award winner for Best New Play M. Butterfly, which charts the decades-long affair between a French politician and a Chinese opera performer. BD Wong originated the role of Song Liling, the male opera singer in disguise as a woman, for which he, too, won a Tony.
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M. Butterfly is based on the relationship between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu, an opera singer posing as a woman, and will hit the stage October 26. Taymor is best known as the creative genius behind the staged version of The Lion King, though she also was attached to the infamous flop Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark before ultimately being dismissed. Owen, too, has previously worked on Broadway, appearing in the 2015 adaptation of Harold Pinter's Old Times. The role of Liling has yet to be cast.
"I could not be more excited to take on such a complex and fascinating role for my return to Broadway," said Owen in a statement. "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."
David Hwang, who wrote the play, is updating the new adaptation to include fresh information discovered abut the real-life affair that surfaced after the show's inital 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," Taymor said. "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."