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Theatre News Wire

Court's 59th Season Closes with M. Butterfly
Apr 26, 2014


M. ButterflyCourt Theatre closes its 2013-2014 season with the Chicago premiere of M. Butterfly written by David Henry Hwang and directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell, with choreography by Jamie Guan. M. Butterfly will run May 8 - June 8, 2014 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue.

M. Butterfly is an exquisitely delicate and aggressively original play about sex, espionage, and Imperialism. Skillfully intertwining the story of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly with an extraordinary plot inspired by true events, M. Butterfly untangles the story of Rene Gallimard, a meek French civil servant who meets the woman of his dreams in Song Liling, a beautiful, Chinese opera diva. What Gallimard doesn't realize-or refuses to see-is that his "modest Chinese girl" may be much more than she appears. M. Butterfly has become a post-modern classic whose exploration of the sexual politics of East and West continues to resonate today.

"M. Butterfly gloriously captures the human necessity to create an ideal, divine love, and it is David Henry Hwang's uncanny ability to tap into the essential nature of love that most captivates me about this work," says Artistic Director Charles Newell. "I have long wanted to bring this modern classic to life for Court audiences. Given the opportunity to work in concert with the University of Chicago and the Smart Museum of Art on a festival of Chinese arts and culture enabled us to create a more immersive experience that's in keeping with our mission to be the Center for Classic Theatre."

M. Butterfly features Nate Braga (Song Liling), Laura Coover (Renee), Sean Fortunato (Rene Gallimard), Aurora Adachi-Winter (Kurogo Dancer), Erin Clyne (Kurogo Dancer), Emjoy Gavino (Comrade Chin), Terry Hamilton (Toulon), Mark Montgomery (Marc), and Karen Woditsch (Helga).
The creative team is Jamie Guan (Choreographer), Todd Rosenthal (Scenic Designer), Lydia Tanji (Costume Designer), Keith Parham (Lighting Designer), and Andre Pluess (Sound Designer). Amanda Weener is the Stage Manager.

The idea for Court Theatre to produce M. Butterfly was born out of a conversation between Judith Zeitlin, a University of Chicago professor who specializes in the history of Chinese opera, and Artistic Director Charles Newell. Newell was inspired to direct M. Butterfly after learning that Zeitlin was curating a museum exhibit on images of Chinese opera at the Smart Museum, right next door to Court Theatre.
Now, Court's production and Smart's exhibit are headlining a months-long festival at the University of Chicago, Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture.


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