No More Doubt, At Least Off-Broadway; Shanley Plays Ends MTC Run Jan. 30 Prior to Broadway

News   No More Doubt, At Least Off-Broadway; Shanley Plays Ends MTC Run Jan. 30 Prior to Broadway John Patrick Shanley's lauded play, Doubt, about questions surrounding the relationship between a priest and a young student in a parochial school, ends its Off-Broadway run Jan. 30 at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Cherry Jones in Doubt
Cherry Jones in Doubt Photo by Joan Marcus

The production will transfer to Broadway this spring. Dates and theatre are expected to be announced the week of Jan. 31. The soon to be vacated Walter Kerr Theatre has been mentioned as a possible destination.

MTC's world premiere of Doubt — about conflict between a nun (Cherry Jones) and a priest (Brían F. O'Byrne) who clash over the treatment of a male student at a Bronx Catholic school in the 1960s — was extended through Jan. 30 at City Center's Stage I. The production, directed by Doug Hughes, was originally announced to play a limited engagement through Jan. 9.

The cast features Heather Goldenhersh (Psych, "Kinsey"), Cherry Jones (The Heiress), Adriane Lenox (Kiss Me, Kate) and Brían F. O'Byrne (Frozen, "Million Dollar Baby").

The creative team includes John Lee Beatty (set design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), Pat Collins (lighting design) and David Van Tieghem (original music and sound design).

The tight, intermissionless, 90-minute drama takes place in a Bronx Catholic school in the 1960s, where an autocratic nun (Jones) suspects a beloved, charismatic priest (O'Byrne) of misbehavior with a young black student. Unable to affect change herself due to the strict hierarchy of the church, the Sister opens up dialogues with a junior nun (Goldenhersh) and the boy's mother (Lenox) to force a lengthy confrontation with the priest. Issues of loyalty, suspicion, sin, compromise and, yes, doubt, are explored through the actions of all four characters, and through two memorable set-piece sermons delivered by O'Byrne. Producer Carole Shorenstein Hays, whose credits include Gem of the Ocean, Take Me Out and Caroline, or Change, is taking the acclaimed MTC production to Broadway. Gem of the Ocean recently announced it will close Feb. 6 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, and Doubt is thought to be aiming there. Hays will produce the Shanley play with MTC and partners.

The move will mark the Broadway debut of prolific Shanley, an Off-Broadway and regional favorite known for Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and the original screenplay for "Moonstruck." The well-made play is a bit a departure for the writer, who is arguably better known for his combustible, untamed scripts.

Hays and Freddy DeMann will produce the Broadway revival of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, directed by Daniel Sullivan, at the Belasco Theatre. Denzel Washington will play Brutus.

Previews for Doubt began Nov. 3, 2004. Opening was Nov. 23.

Visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.org.

Brian F. O'Byrne and Cherry Jones in <i>Doubt</i>
Brian F. O'Byrne and Cherry Jones in Doubt Photo by Joan Marcus