Theater News

Clive Owen to Star in First-Ever Broadway Revival of M. Butterfly

David Henry Hwang’s Tony-winning play will be directed on Broadway by Julie Taymor.

Clive Owen will return to Broadway in the fall of 2017 to star in the first revival of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly.
Clive Owen will return to Broadway in the fall of 2017 to star in the first revival of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly.
(© David Gordon)

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 Lion King). Produced by Nelle Nugent, Steve Traxler, Kenneth Teaton, Benjamin Feldman, and Doug Morris, the production is set to open on October 26 at a Broadway theater to be announced.

M. Butterfly charts the scandalous romance between a married French diplomat and a mysterious Chinese opera singer — a 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.

For the revival, 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. The play had its world premiere at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre in February 1988. The original Broadway production of M. Butterfly, directed by John Dexter, ran March 20, 1988-January 27, 1990, for a total of 777 performances. John Lithgow starred as Rene Gallimard with B.D. Wong as Song Liling. M. Butterfly won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play for Wong, and Best Direction of a Play for Dexter.

"I could not be more excited to take on such a complex and fascinating role for my return to Broadway," said Owen. "M. Butterfly offers a novel challenge with its inherent mystery and astonishing story line. 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."

With the role of Rene Gallimard, Owen makes his first Broadway return since making his debut in the 2015 Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harold Pinter's Old Times. He earned an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Award for his role as Larry in Patrick Marber's Closer, directed by Mike Nichols. He was most recently seen starring in Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick for Cinemax, which he also executive-produced. His past stage credits also include Romeo & Juliet at the Young Vic and Noël Coward's Design for Living at the Donmar Warehouse.