After Flu Bug, Doubt Newcomers Eldard and Malone Join Cast Jan. 11; Atkins Still Out

News   After Flu Bug, Doubt Newcomers Eldard and Malone Join Cast Jan. 11; Atkins Still Out Any cast that works closely together in a room is liable to catch it: a flu bug. But when the company has only four actors in it, it can throw a major kink into the works.

That's what happened Jan. 10, when the three new cast members of Broadway's Doubt were to play their first performance with the production's veteran, Adriane Lenox.

Ron Eldard, Jena Malone and Eileen Atkins were all too ill to go on Tuesday, so understudies took their places in the lauded drama by John Patrick Shanley.

Taking the stage at the Walter Kerr were Lizbeth MacKay (as Sister Aloysius, the Eileen Atkins role), Stevie Ray Dallimore (as Father Flynn) and Nadia Bowers (as Sister James).

A spokesman told Playbill.com Jan. 11 that Eldard and Malone made their debut in their roles at the Wednesday Jan. 11 matinee and were expected to play the show Wednesday night, as well. Mackay played the matinee and was expected to also play the evening show. No word on when four-time Tony Award nominee Atkins will be ready to step into the wimple of Sister Aloysius.

The three newcomers replace original stars Cherry Jones (Sister Aloysius), Brian F. O'Byrne (Father Flynn) and Heather Goldenhersh (Sister James). The misfortune gave the understudies a rare chance to stretch their muscles in front of an audience; if they don't end up on stage, understudies' main contact is often limited to each other, the actors they cover, stage managers, associate directors or a director — usually in a cold rehearsal room or and empty theatre.

Adriane Lenox, who won the 2005 Best Featured Actress Tony Award for playing Mrs. Muller, was unbitten by the flu bug and took appeared Jan. 10 and 11.

*

In the lauded play by John Patrick Shanley, four-time Tony Award nominee Atkins has been cast as Sister Aloysius, the sharp, steely nun who runs a Bronx Catholic school and suspects a popular priest of misconduct with a male student. Ron Eldard (Broadway's On the Waterfront and Death of a Salesman) is the charismatic Father Flynn, and Jena Malone is young Sister James, pulled between her colleagues.

*

Doug Hughes directs the 90-minute John Patrick Shanley play. Shanley, Hughes, the producers and Cherry Jones all won Tony Awards for their work on the bracing drama. The play also won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

*

"Set against the backdrop of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, Doubt is the story of a strong-minded woman faced with a difficult decision," according to producers. "Should she voice concerns about one of her male colleagues…even if she's not entirely certain of the truth?"

Set design is by John Lee Beatty, costume design is by Catherine Zuber, lighting design is by Pat Collins, original music and sound design is by David Van Tieghem.

Doubt is produced by Carole Shorenstein Hays, MTC Productions Inc. (Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove, executive producer), Roger Berlind and Scott Rudin.

The Walter Kerr Theatre is at 219 W. 48th Street.

For tickets call Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or visit the Walter Kerr Theatre box office.

Today’s Most Popular News: