Already closed | 2h 0m | Midtown W

M. Butterfly

From 331 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Disappointing

About the show

David Henry Hwang's Tony Award-winning play comes back to Broadway in a new production directed by Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor and starring Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Clive Owen. More…

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. 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.

2h 0m | Already closed | Cort Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (331)


Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Disappointing
Avg Score

Ambitious, Strong visuals, Thought-provoking, Unsatisfying end, Engrossing

See it if you enjoy Taymor's strong artistic sensibility. Many striking images: fascinating panels, lighting, costumes. Engrossing plot; well acted.

Don't see it if you want enlightenment. MB: some men love a dream more than reality. Breaking of 4th wall is jarring. Ending (w/makeup applicn) felt forced.

Also I never saw the original MB, so I can't compare. I found the play rive... Read more Read less

Visually stunning, Absorbing, Clever, Intriguing, Entertaining

See it if You’ve never seen it before. I have a feeling you’ll appreciate this best if you’re not comparing it to a previous production. I loved it.

Don't see it if you’re not willing to think a little outside the box. Julie Taymor’s direction is visually pretty busy for a play. Might distract. I loved.

Disappointing, Slow, Poor staging, Emotionless

See it if you've never seen this highly-acclaimed play, worthy of reviving (but worthy of a better production); you want to see a nice perf by Jin Ha

Don't see it if you've seen the play before. Taymor's passionless direction, rudimentary sets, Hwang's needless rewrites & a colorless Owen mar this revival

Intelligent, Great acting, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you enjoy well-paced presentation that is clear and enjoyable. This retelling of the story is a great production-do not expect the original.

Don't see it if you do not like be spoken to by the main actors or if you want an original staging of this play.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are looking for a different type of Butterfly. As I watched this play fold out, I was wanting more.

Don't see it if If you think it like musical and dancing for not alot of sing.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You like minimalist productions,Clive Owen,hidden secrets,Asian culture norms,East v West, difficult love affairs, feeling torn.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with sexual references and nudity. Like elaborate staging and fast action. Saw the original. Believe NY Times.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Overrated, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if want to see a revival of an important play that brought Asian-American actors and playwrights to greater attention

Don't see it if you are prudish

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you like great acting.Clive Owen's incredible.He hits every emotional color.Set is constantly changing, leaving us off balance,like the play

Don't see it if you want a story wrapped up with a bow.This leaves you wondering about sexualtiy,love,fantasy.If we love, does it matter if it's an illusion

Cerebral, Spare, Sad

See it if you enjoy thought provoking dramas with more of a focus on ideas than emotions, and you want to see dishy Clive onstage.

Don't see it if you'll miss the emotional punch of the original or you expect flashy sets and costumes.

Also I struggled with this revival, comparing it to the original. Owen's pe... Read more Read less

Aloof, ugly staging, boring,, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if I'm not sure. I did not like the setting, the lack of set, Enormous, variably boring panels hung and maneuvered getting stuck. Boring.

Don't see it if You want drama. You want to know anything about the story.

Also I've seen CLive Owen twice onstage and both times I was struck by the ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting, Profound

See it if You enjoy timely gender bending dramas with two excellent performers

Don't see it if If you are offended by gender bending true stories

Resonant, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you want to see a revival of a classic, intriguing play. Jin Ha delivers a standout performance as Song Liling and Clive Owen is excellent.

Don't see it if you're put off by darker themes, nudity, and intense adult topics.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want an updated version of this play. More information now. Clive Owen excellent. Worth seeing just for him.

Don't see it if You want light fluff. This is not a fun play. Serious. Must pay attention. If gender issues are not your thing, stay away.

Ambitious, Edgy, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you are a die-hard fan of the play or Clive Owen. Interesting use of screens to show reality's fragility.

Don't see it if you want a thrilling revival. Acting was flat and the screens used looked cheap. Very stark in color and execution. You don't like nudity.

Also So sad to see a less-than-stellar revival given the cast and director.... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy, Great staging, Intense

See it if you want to see a retelling with some interesting Julie Taymor staging, good acting.

Don't see it if you are put off by very explicit sexual discussions and full frontal nudity.

Also Some of the Chinese propaganda pieces went on too long.

Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated, Slow

See it if Never saw the original and want a glimpse of what it was about.

Don't see it if Remember the original - skip this. Nothing seems shocking or relevant anymore. Kind of boring actually.

Disappointing, This is not you momma's 1988 production by any means

See it if you never had the chance to see the original Broadway production.

Don't see it if you saw the original Broadway production, because you will be disappointed.

Also I saw the original 1988 Broadway production twenty night years ago. I ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Intense, Cliched, Slow

See it if You want to be challenged on your ideas about masculinity and femininity, east and west.

Don't see it if You normally go to the theater on a date. This isn't a good show for a date.

Slow, Overrated, Indulgent, Banal, Confusing

See it if You really love clive owen.

Don't see it if You want to be bored to death, Mr.owen is always in a hit or miss broadway show.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Riveting

See it if My friends and I had all seen the show in 1988 and we loved the revival. Clive Owens is terrific as is Jin Ha. I liked the sets as well.

Don't see it if You are pining for John Lithgow. It seems some reviewers are.

Ambitious, Intense, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You’re patient. The payoff, emotionally, comes at the end. But, you may have given up by that point. It’s meandering, and you don’t care.

Don't see it if You want a clear point of view. You’re meant to root for unsavory characters, and don’t know who you’re rooting for. It ends well.

Disappointing, Bad diretion, Bad scenic design, Overrated, Unfocused

See it if You have never seen a production of "M Butterfly" previously.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a finely written mangled by bad direction and poor acting performance by Clive Owen.

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Great acting

See it if you are a fan of the play or of Clive Owen

Don't see it if you are married to the original script (it's been updated) or object to depictions of sex or male nudity.

Ambitious, Confusing, Great acting, Indulgent, Roller-coaster

See it if exquisite performances by leads Clive Owen and Jin Ha; exhuberant moments of stagecraft and an unexpectant "dream ballet" in the middle

Don't see it if Set pieces often look cheap and are distracting; Act I requires so much storyline setup that best moments are in Act II; partial nudity

Clunky, Great acting

See it if you’ve never seen this script produced before and enjoy a live Owen.

Don't see it if you’ve seen the original production and production value is important to you.

Also Ha and Owen save this production. Frankly, Taymour should be ashamed.

October 26th, 2017
"'M. Butterfly' returns to Broadway on heavier, drabber wings...Hwang more than implicitly compares Gallimard’s dim vision regarding his love object to the unrealistic beliefs that Western countries hold about the East...For 'M. Butterfly' to have emotional impact, it must make its audiences unea...
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October 26th, 2017
"'M. Butterfly' remains provocative and timely, with a great deal to unpack—in part because Hwang has stuffed it with new information...These changes help shift the storytelling away from symbolism and toward a more specific account of a particular relationship...Aside from lively dance sequences...
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October 26th, 2017
"Strangely uneven...Despite compelling performances by both leads—especially Ha—both play and production wander into clunkiness and confusion...Hwang and Taymor often struggle to convey the specific reality in which events are occurring...Hwang’s observations feel suspended—like little islands of...
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October 26th, 2017
"The bluntness and lack of poetry in Taymor's sluggish 'M. Butterfly' revival are no fault of the talented Jin Ha, who plays Song with an enigmatic air..Owen's dour Gallimard is more hamstrung by the production's approach...M. Butterfly remains a provocative drama...But in their counterintuitive ...
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