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.

... Read 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.

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Prices include a $2 facility fee. service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. ALL SALES FINAL. No refunds or exchanges. Dates, times, prices and cast subject to change without notice. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. Pricing valid for select performances through 1/28/2018. Offer may be revoked without notice at any time. Offer cannot be combined with other offers. Not valid on previously purchased tickets.

$34 - $109
through 1/28
MBTM1103 Go


Orchestra: $99 - $109 (reg. $139 - $149)
Mezzanine: $69 - $109 (reg. $89 - $149)
Balcony: $34 - $39 (reg. $39 - $59)


Prices include a $2 facility fee. service fees for each ticket applicable to online or phone orders. ALL SALES FINAL. No refunds or exchanges. Dates, times, prices and cast subject to change without notice. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. Pricing valid for select performances through 1/28/2018. Offer may be revoked without notice at any time. Offer cannot be combined with other offers. Not valid on previously purchased tickets.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"'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 uneasily complicit in that fantasy. In this version, you always maintain the distance...We’re not being seduced, but preached at." Full Review

Broadway News

"Despite Taymor’s infusions of stylish pageantry – or possibly, in part, because of them — the play’s emotional core seems to have been hollowed out...Taymor’s plodding, sometimes fussy staging, coupled with Hwang’s revised version of the play, ultimately leave a wearying, watery impression...This production tends to underline the play’s flaws, notably Hwang’s sometimes over-explicit writing." Full Review


"Taymor's stylish revival attempts to seduce us into belief, to make its gender-play seem not only plausible but understandable...Ha's believably feminine performance undergirds our uncertainty...Taymor artfully constructs Gallimard's orientalist dream...Minor quibbles about the play's occasionally sluggish pace shouldn't obscure the point that no other director comes close to Taymor's magpie talent for incorporating diverse theatrical forms into a singular vision." Full Review


"Gorgeous if oddly unmoving...Owen seems deeply haunted by Gallimard’s forbidden love for Song Liling; but his earnest attempt to play the character’s sexual uncertainty is ultimately unconvincing. Taymor has shielded Hwang’s poetry from being overwhelmed by the sheer theatricality of the story...By fortifying the scenes that frame the love story, Taymor has also strengthened the political undercurrents of the play." Full Review

Time Out New York

"'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, there are few spectacular flourishes. Not all of the directorial choices make immediate sense...But even at its most confusing—not to say inscrutable—the revival commands fascination." Full Review

What Should We Do?

“I found ‘M. Butterfly’ 2.0 to be a fascinating, provocative series of boxes and surfaces, constantly shifting and reconstituting itself to beguile our senses and sympathies...Taymor’s intense, painterly staging complements the shifting perspectives and cinematic quick cuts of Hwang’s script...Taymor creates a dazzling series of tableaux that mesh perfectly with Hwang’s heightened, poetic lines...Owen is unexpectedly vulnerable as a Frenchman undone by his cultural prejudices." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“The thrill is diminished, in part thanks to a miscast star and a busy, bustling production that, too often, seems interested in pageantry for its own sake...Taymor has gotten Hwang to revise the script, filling it with unnecessary details...The original script is a solid piece of construction leavened by considerable wit and ideas that still provoke and stimulate; by adding all this froufrou, a once-powerful drama now packs all the sting of, well, a butterfly.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"A play that uses the tools of theater to both celebrate and question how we give ourselves over to fantasy. Nearly 30 years on, it’s still clever, tender and formally daring. But Julie Taymor’s staging and Hwang’s rewrites unbalance the delicate poise between illusion and truth...Owen is a captivating presence, even playing a man without allurements. Jin Ha makes a nicely spiky Song...This new version is more grounded in fact, which leaves one hungry for particulars of the real story." Full Review

Theater Life

"Occasionally striking but ultimately disappointing...Taymor focuses on visuals and neglects the human connections. The opening is gripping...But the subsequent staging consists mostly of actors running on and off...There is little spark between Owen who is miscast, and Ha who is intriguingly feminine...The first version was infused with mystery and sexual longing, but both playwright and director have clipped the play’s wings, leaving us with an earthbound 'Butterfly.'" Full Review

New York Theater

"Hwang’s explorations of these themes in the play remain timely, shockingly so...All these added details may make the play feel more realistic; they certainly complicate it. But those of us acquainted with the original may feel that in the process of grounding the story in fact, there has been a loss of some surprise…resonance…mystique...The new 'M Butterfly,' for all its changes, remains provocative, enlightening and entertaining." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“This butterfly doesn't soar…It's…clear that…Taymor's strengths are mainly visual and rhythmical; the acting in her work is too often geared toward the theatrical…The performances in 'M. Butterfly' tend to be colorful but overripe and lacking in subtlety. Too many speeches, especially in the play's closing moments, have the feel of message-laden rhetoric…Without a believable, much less moving, connection between Gallimard of the West and Song of the East I doubt that ever the twain shall meet.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"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 attempt to make the play relevant for an audience more versed in the complexities of gender and racial politics, Taymor and Hwang have inadvertently undercut its pathos." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Ms. Taymor’s revival isn’t remotely worthy of Mr. Hwang’s subtle meditation on male desire and the inability of Westerners to understand the Asian mind, and Mr. Owen is so miscast that it’s easy to forget how fine an actor he can be under more favorable circumstances...Jin Ha, by contrast, is astonishing...Were the rest of this production half as impressive as his performance, it would be worth paying any price to see." Full Review

AM New York

"Oh lord, what have David Henry Hwang and Julie Taymor done to 'M. Butterfly'?...Its seriously misguided and marred Broadway revival contains extensive, unnecessary and mostly detrimental rewrites...Visually, the production is a mess...Likewise, Hwang’s meandering and confusing rewrites bring the suspenseful pace to a halt...The play was ripe for revival — and it has instead been ripped apart." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“The revival lacks chemistry and plausibility...I never believed that either was infatuated enough or in lust enough, to make this story real. You also must believe that Song can pass as female and sadly I never believed that...Owens performance is lacking in any kind of substance. At times it felt like he was reading the phone book...I found myself feeling nothing for Gallimard...This revival of ‘M/ Butterfly’ just lacks humanity and all those things that make us feel and are human.” Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"The revision of the script is very savvy and potent. But it doesn't solve all the problems with Taymor's revival, which begin with Owen's invulnerability...You do believe Ha, whose very sophisticated, disciplined and nuanced performance is the highlight of a production that embraces a whole variety of styles without ever really committing to a fully consistent point of view...Such scenes require an unstinting embrace of emotional truth — places that this production seems reluctant to go." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Between a wan star turn, a clumsy staging and nagging issues that remain even with a revised script, the revival at the Cort Theatre frustrates and falls flat...There’s no mystery or ambiguity in Owen’s portrait...Taymor's work here is short on passion and inspiration...If you’re determined to see a fully satisfying Broadway play, 'M. Butterfly' isn’t the right specimen." Full Review


"Both visually and intellectually, this revival is a wholesale departure from John Dexter’s original production, a decision that turns out to have been wise choosing. This 'M. Butterfly' is every bit as memorable as the original...This conventional style for such an unconventional script has the salubrious effect of throwing the action into high relief, and allows both Owen and Jin Ha to shine; they’re mesmerizing...A heated, intensely provocative show. It never lets up." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“Taymor’s onslaught is straight on powerful and direct, energetically engaging, and dramatically concise. It doesn’t seem to want to mask this tale in a romantic or mysterious mist, but to shine a more harsh, realistic light on the story...A bolder and less gauzy attitude is being presented in this production...A powerful and well acted revival. The big reveal does lack surprise, but Hwang’s factual altering of this story brings it forward into the present world.” Full Review


“The script additions and deletions and Taymor's staging innovations work quite well...Owen and Ha both give vivid new life to the diplomat and the object of his fantasy...Both are best when alone on stage...since the sexual sizzle between them never rises above a simmer...Go to this ‘M. Butterfly’ with an open mind. Even if it doesn't add up to quite the 'wow' you saw or heard about, you'll find it to still be an intriguingly unusual and enormously theatrical story.” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“The stunning albeit straightforward play about fantasy, deception, espionage, and betrayal seems to have lost its way...What did work for this production is the casting of Ha as Liling and Owen as Gallimand...Working against the performances, unfortunately, is Steinberg’s cumbersome and oddly unimaginative set. The constant movement of stage hands (and actors) pushing, pulling...distracts from the needed grounding of the plots and subplots driven by the conflicts of the characters.” Full Review


"So much revision has been done to the 30th anniversary production and first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang's Tony Award winning 'M. Butterfly' starring British film star Clive Owen that it is a bit of a misnomer that the play retains the same name. While the themes of East and West relations may be even more relevant now than in 1988, the play seems to twist itself out of shape to retain the element of surprise." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"I was prepared to enjoy the production on its own terms and, to some extent, I did. Owen...unconventional choice to play the socially awkward Rene Gallimard, carries it off well...The complex story remains fascinating even though the playwright’s revisions...may have added too much information at the cost of mystery. There are occasional moments, particularly at the trial, when it becomes too much like a geopolitical lecture. Nevertheless, there is much to admire." Full Review

The Wrap

"Hwang has so much going on that it’s difficult to say for sure what’s going on, and sometimes that includes the plot. What does come across in the new 'M. Butterfly' is that Gallimard never has much sexual interest in women. Owen’s riveting, tortured portrayal makes that clear...Julie Taymor is better known for directing sets than actors, but her success here isn’t limited to Owen’s performance." Full Review


"To his infinite credit, Owen does everything in his power to overcome this central bit of miscasting...Taymor adds some unusual visual elements to the production...Still, the production feels a bit skimpy, and one can’t help but wonder what Taymor would do with a larger budget. Try as everyone might, this 'Butterfly' never really soars; but it rarely crashes to the ground either." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Dizzying, Intense, Romantic, Great staging

See it if You want to see a classic that's more relevant to modern times.

Don't see it if You don't like Julie Taymor.

Clever, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Dated

See it if An exploration of gender and how the west views east in terms of masculinity, femininity. Clive Owen has a great performance.

Don't see it if Convoluted, at times tedious. I did not see the original, but show apparently compares unfavorably. Staging was so-so.

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if .....

Don't see it if ......

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.

Great acting, Disappointing, 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.

Beautiful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you'd appreciate insights into East/West relations from an Eastern perspective. You enjoy a good "falling from grace" story.

Don't see it if you don't like having racial stereotypes challenged. You feel good acting can't overcome the leads not looking their parts.

Also Playwriting 90 (intelligent, clever)... Read more Read less

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

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Interesting, Entertaining, Better than expected

See it if you enjoy a thought-provoking, engrossing story, and a professional, polished production and fine acting.

Don't see it if you might be repulsed or confused about an unusual same sex relationship that is the basis of the plot.

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, 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.

Great acting, Resonant, Disappointing

See it if I saw the original Broadway Show and it was riveting. This production directorial and design wise looked like a budget bus and truck tour.

Don't see it if If you was dramicic effects and accurate chiness opers. See it at the Met museum next year in the Astor court . That is amazing.

Also The performances were stellar but the set was so distracting. Was Ms T... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Hideous

See it if you absolutely MUST see Julie Taymor's latest work or have never encountered Hwang's text before

Don't see it if you value your time, money, and wish to keep your idols on their ivory pedestals

Also Even when her work is uneven, (I'm looking at you, Spider-Man), Julie ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Indulgent, Confusing, 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

Disappointing, Dated

See it if You loved the show before. It has not made the transition to the 21st century very successfully.

Don't see it if You want a story that keeps moving forward and keeps you moving with it. If you are prone to napping, stay home.

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you love Owen or new talent. If you're new to the story. Clever... with political and gender and machiavellian overtones.

Don't see it if you find stage manipulation distracting..hands turning panels v high school. If you adored 1st production this might disappoint (didn't see)

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Romantic

See it if I had never seen M. Butterfly before. I definitely could see Julie Taymore's influence. Clive Owen was great. Jin Ha was amazing. It is

Don't see it if very worthwhile. See it, if you can suspend belief that this man could have been in love with this "woman" and intimate for 20 years

Also knowing she was a he. I felt for Rene and was angry that he was basica... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing

See it if you want to see a classic play and story from the 80's. An excellent revival.If you want to see Clive Owen.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a male full frontal nude. If this kind of stories don't make you fell or think.

Also I saw this play in Mexico City in 1988. I was a teenager. I will alway... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Disappointing

See it if if you are interested in seeing a more contemporary M Butterfly. Hwang has reconceived his play. Interesting but direction is problematic.

Don't see it if you loved the original and want to relive that. You will be very disappointed!

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if A fascinating play based on true events. An intimate story with big themes. Not as good as the original, but still well worth seeing.

Don't see it if You loved the original production and not open to seeing a new version.

Also Clive Owen is a bit bland and the gray panels are ugly. However, Jin H... Read more Read less

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

See it if You are interested in this true story and how someone can truly believe something false when you want it to be true so badly.

Don't see it if You want fantastic staging. While the sets worked fine, I didn't find them attractive. I would have enjoyed it more with prettier panels.

Great acting, Clunky

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.

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, Confusing, Disappointing

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

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

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You like the show. The acting was great and the theme of the show has not outdated itself.

Don't see it if You don’t like shows regarding homosexuality, slow moving stories, nudity, uncomfortable situations.

Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if You're a Clive Owen fan, you never had a chance to see the original, or you're a Julie Taymore completist.

Don't see it if You want perfect casting. Both leads are fine actors but are physically miscast.