To read Michael Butler's bio from the First Broadway program
To read Michael Butler's bio from the Second Broadway program click here.
Consider the possibility of a twenty-first century Renaissance man. Construct him out of one part Prince Valiant, one part Daddy Warbucks, and a measure of Clark Kent. Fill to the top with Bruce Wayne, add a sprinkling of Mark Rudd and Cohn-Bendit, garnish with Lake Michigan Goldwasser and serve it at the Digger's free kitchen...and you have Michael Butler.
This futuristic Robin Hood and his merry band have turned Broadway into Sherwood Forest, robbing the Merricks to give to the people, and giving that tired, old invalid, the theatre, a magical miracle drug...reality, excitement, meaning and the SRO musical phenomenon: HAIR.
A rather well known theatrical producer was over heard to say "Hair is the sort of thing I must save the American Theatre from." For michael Butler, who also has a bit of the Lochinvar in him, has ridden out of the West, his lance full tilt at all the formulae, all the meretriciousness, the cancerous commercialism, the expense account mentality of today's theatre. With one clean blow (Hair!) Butler has decapitated the old dragon. In the words of the Village Voice, he has "Blown up Broadway." and all the rules are changed.
What manner of apprenticeship for this new status as the producer of the hottest ticket in New York...? Butler's past is a chess board and he has played every piece on the board. A developer at Sugarbush ski resort, negotiator with Eastern Kings, land developer in the Caribbean, special advisor on Indian and Middle Eastern Affairs to president Kennedy, champion polo player, paper industry executive and political candidate, Michael Butler considers all of this a logical and fitting background for his present role. The theatre in his eyes is the only true mirror of our life and times, and it is on the stage...the stage as it has been since primitive man first acted out his living and religious experiences...that we can truly see life...not only as it is...but as it can be.
Butler's living is as unconventional as his success. A free agent, he divides his time between Chicago, New York, Palm Beach and Acapulco. Thrice married and divorced, his time in Palm Beach is largely devoted to his four year old son by day...and parties and balls by night. His wardrobe ranges from "Peter Fonda leather" through Cardin, and settles comfortably into Saville Row. Eclectic would be the mildest description of his clothes closet. Mr. Butler is a beautifully turned out man...and if there is a simple way of describing him it would be to say that he is appropriately habited. A millionaire's millionaire, Butler lives a somewhat baronial life in Chicago. Son of industrialist-sportsman Paul Butler, Michael inhabits some thousands of pheasant and deer-filled acres at oak Brook, Illinois, a resident complex of a few hundred families, master-minded by the Butler interests.
While in New York, Butler maintains residence in a penthouse
which sits on a pinnacle of another penthouse below. An inner tower,
an apotheostic refuge from the noisy city, it is as inaccessible as Olympus
and it provides him with transfusions, tranquility and absolute privacy.
Butler's New York office is another study in contrasts...on the absolute
fringe of the theatre district, its floors are covered with dirty cotton
carpeting. The dust of a thousand dead dreams has settled on discarded
props. It is a stage set for an 8th-rate impresario who has, after
a generation of trying, at last failed to make the rent. It is Pinter
revisited. And its discovery by Butler, in its present condition,
is a testament to his unerring sense of the appropriate. A Phoenix
rising out of its own ashes...The American Theatre re-born.
Copyright Natoma Productions.