Opening night is Sept. 9 in Arena's Fichandler space, in Washington, DC. Tazewell Thompson directs the production, which features recent Juilliard graduate J. Hiroyuki Liao as the butterfly character, Song Lilling. The play is inspired by the culture clash story seen in the opera Madama Butterfly.
"Sixteen years ago, M. Butterfly burst onto the scene like a bracing jolt of salt air," said Arena artistic director Molly Smith, in a statement. "Audiences were abuzz with this play because it tapped into huge questions of sex and sexuality. With culture wars raging around issues of same-sex marriage and family values, M. Butterfly floats back in as a meditation about the edges of sexuality."
The play is based on a true incident of international espionage and "charts the decades-long affair between a French diplomat and a beautiful Chinese Opera star," according to Arena notes. "Hwang's play examines cultural and gender stereotypes of East and West."
M. Butterfly was first produced in 1988 and won the Tony Award for Best Play of the Year, the New York Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Broadway play, and the John Gassner Award for the season's outstanding new playwright, David Henry Hwang.
The cast also includes Ako, Marty Lodge, Terrence Currier, Kelly Brady, Jeffrey Luke and Kenneth Lee.
Designers are Donald Eastman (set), Carrie Robbins (costume), Robert Wierzel (lighting) and Fabian Obispo (sound and original music).
Tickets range from $45-$59. For information, call (202) 488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.