John Patrick Shanley Adapting Doubt for 2013 Operatic Debut

By Adam Hetrick
November 23, 2011

Composer Douglas J. Cuomo has teamed with award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley to create an opera of Shanley's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Doubt.



Minnesota Opera commissioned Doubt, which will feature a libretto by Shanley and music by Cuomo. The opera will premiere in 2013 as part of the company's 50th anniversary season.

Doubt received a ten-day workshop in early November as part of Opera Fusion: New Works, a collaboration with Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Shanley also adapted and directed his 90-minute stage play for a 2008 film, which starred Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

The play premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 at the Manhattan Theatre Club and later transferred to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre. The original cast featured Cherry Jones, Brian F. O'Byrne, Heather Goldenhersh and Adriane Lenox. It won Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Director (Doug Hughes), Best Actress (Jones) and Best Featured Actress (Lenox).

Doubt is set in a Bronx, NY, Catholic parish where Father Flynn is suspected by Sister Aloysius, the school's principal, of having an inappropriate relationship with one of his male students. The young boy's mother only complicates matters in her response to the allegations, thrusting Sister Aloysius into a conflicted dialogue about her own faith and the cost of the pursuit of truth.

Shanley has also penned Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Defiance, Savage in Limbo and The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, as well as the Oscar-winning screenplay for "Moonstruck."

Cuomo composed the opening music for the HBO hit "Sex and the City." His works also include Arjuna’s Dilemma, Only Breath, Kyrie and Black Diamond Express Train to Hell.