Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan

This modern classic stars Tony Award winners Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber in a brand new production directed by Scott Ellis.

By: Mar. 07, 2024
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Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan
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The first Broadway revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award & Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt: A Parable opens tonight at the Todd Haimes Theatre. This modern classic stars Tony Award winners Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber in a brand new production directed by Scott Ellis.

See what the critics are saying below!

The production stars Academy Award & Tony nominee Amy Ryan as “Sister Aloysius,” Tony & SAG Award winner Liev Schreiber as “Father Brendan Flynn,” Obie & Lortel Award winner Quincy Tyler Bernstine as “Mrs. Muller,” and Drama Desk & Lortel Award nominee Zoe Kazan as “Sister James.”

The design team includes David Rockwell (Sets), Linda Cho (Costumes), Kenneth Posner (Lights), and Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound).

Doubt: A Parable, John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award®-winning Best Play, returns to Broadway for the first time in nearly two decades. “An inspired study in moral uncertainty” (The New York Times), Sister Aloysius, the principal of a Catholic school in a working-class part of the Bronx, is feared by students and colleagues alike. But when she suspects nefarious relations between the charismatic priest Father Flynn and a student, she’s forced to wrestle with what’s fact, what’s fiction, and how much she’ll risk to expose the difference—all the while wrestling with her own bone-deep doubts.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Jesse Green, The New York Times: Both precepts seem plausible, even if one is harsh and one loving, and both are chewily written. The entire play is like that: ideally worded, ingeniously structured, sinewy and swift. It never lets you, or poor Sister James, reach a conclusion as to which, if either, of her superiors is right. By the time Shanley takes the astonishing step of having Aloysius interrogate Donald’s mother — Quincy Tyler Bernstine, scoring big in a short but vividly counterintuitive role — you no longer know what you believe.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Sara Holdren, Vulture: Director Scott Ellis is happy not to push past the expected. David Rockwell’s set dutifully revolves between stony, ivy-twined cloister courtyard and massy mahogany office. Ryan wears the same severe bonnet and glasses that Streep and Cherry Jones wore before her. Mikaal Sulaiman’s straightforward sound design gives us crows cawing, children at play, and kyries between scenes. And, while one needn’t belabor the point, seven of the eight-person central production team are men. The famous faces onstage are new, but much of what’s been packaged here feels intensely, and intentionally, the same as it ever was.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Charles Isherwood, The Wall Street Journal: In the two decades since John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” premiered—winning a best play Tony and a Pulitzer Prize—the mystery at its core, whether a priest has molested a child, has hardly grown less grave. But cultural changes now cast their own shadows over Mr. Shanley’s taut, gripping drama. The excellent Broadway revival, directed by Scott Ellis for the Roundabout Theatre Company, starring Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber, presents the play without any intentional new slant on its ideas, but it gives audiences a chance to consider them in an altered context.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Naveen Kumar, The Washington Post: But the lead performances are miscalibrated. Schreiber’s gruff, salt-of-the-earth Flynn lacks a threatening underside, like a rock without worms squirming beneath. Ryan, a last-minute replacement for Tyne Daly, who withdrew from the production for health reasons, wields Aloysius’s iron-fisted quips like daggers. But she seems to throw them for the sake of it, with an absence of fear or disgust that what she believes might actually be true.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Greg Evans, Deadline: Under the assured direction of Scott Ellis, the revival’s cast is unfaltering in its convictions – we believe that they believe every word they say. If Father Flynn is lying – he’s the only character that has reason to – Schreiber doesn’t let on, a real achievement given that he’s not only squaring off against one tough nun, but several decades now of headlines and heightened public awareness of church atrocities.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: Even if its principal generates less interest, however, the play grows richer every time you see it. On this latest visit—my fifth encounter with Doubt, including the 2008 film with Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman—I wondered if Ellis’s revival, in deference to modern sensibilities, took too clear a position on what has happened between Father Flynn and Donald. But then I remembered that my own convictions on that subject have changed each time I’ve seen some version of this work. My reactions may well say more about me than the production, and they exemplify why it remains so satisfying to sit in the dark with a crowd of people also wrestling with Doubt, divided perhaps in our suspicions but united in a liberating bond of uncertainty.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Johnny Oleksinki, The New York Post: Shanley wrote an immaculate work that can stand up to even so-so productions like the revival starring Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber that opened Thursday at the Todd Haimes Theatre. The script is the marquee star. And although the head-to-head battles between Sister Aloysius (Ryan) and Father Flynn (Schreiber) don’t explode as powerfully here as they are capable of doing, the words are never less than riveting.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan JD Knapp, The Wrap: “Doubt: A Parable” sets up a fascinating power play between two very unequal forces, and it’s thrilling to watch Amy Ryan’s nun and Liev Schreiber’s priest duke it out for 90 minutes on stage. A feisty revival of John Patrick Shanley’s play opened Thursday at the Roundabout’s Todd Haimes Theatre.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Dalton Ross, Entertainment Weekly: Directed by Scott Ellis, Doubt makes every single second count, and even though it may be over at a brisk 90-minutes, the story and performances will stay with you for much, much longer. A–

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Adrian Horton, The Guardian: this new production, directed by Scott Ellis and starring Schreiber and Amy Ryan, stands on its own. Like its forebears, the revival, which runs through mid-April, keeps things simple – four well-acted performances with a powerful alchemy of faith and righteousness, judicious costumes by Linda Cho, a set by David Rockwell that economically transforms from principal’s office, exterior walled garden and spare pulpit at St Nicholas’s parish in the Bronx, 1964. The stage version carries the subtitle A Parable, and Shanley’s play remains a provocative and absorbing examination of intuition, institution and uncertainty in a cloistered powder keg of local power. It’s a testament to the magnetism of the performances and the play itself – its pared-down structure, its tension of agendas at odds – that the 90-minute show breezes by in what feels like half that.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Chris Jones, The New York Daily News: Ryan, whose performance is tart, vulnerable, and unstinting, shows us a character slowly realizing that her unswerving belief in the hierarchy she serves — heck, the way she has ordered her entire life — is incompatible with her moral and practical quest. The similarly excellent Kazan, whose teaching nun has the assets and drawbacks of youth, can only stare horrified at a future that she now understands is coming for her, too. It’s just a matter of time.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: This production might not be overflowing with tension, but Shanley’s text rings truer than ever. He packs more into 90 minutes than most playwrights do into 150. (This season’s revival of his Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and premiere of his Brooklyn Laundry are proof.) And while he may not provide any answers, he’s trusting enough that we’ll figure it out for ourselves.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan David Finkle, New York Stage Review: Perhaps it’s shamelessly obvious to end a review of this Doubt: A Parable by declaring it succeeds without a doubt, but, okay, a few doubts aside, that’s still exactly what it does.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: The nun is certain, or says she is, that the priest is molesting one of the students in her school, but we never are so sure, thanks to John Patrick Shanley’s exquisitely well-crafted play, which debuted on Broadway in 2005, winning both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and four Tony Awards, including Best Play. In this first Broadway revival of “Doubt: A Parable,” which is running only through April 21 at Roundabout’s newly renamed Todd Haimes Theater, the deceptively simple script holds up, the production is sturdy, but only one of the four performances is superb. The others are serviceable, in roles made indelible in the original production (especially Cherry Jones as Sister Aloysius) or in the 2008 movie (Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn.)

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Gillian Russo, New York Theatre Guide: In the church of American theatre, it's practically dogma that John Patrick Shanley's Doubt is excellent. The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play tackles thorny issues of morality, abuse, gender inequality, and progressivism in just over the length of a Catholic Mass. That may seem like too much for one 90-minute show to unpack, but that's the point: As with religion itself, you're meant to come away with more mysteries than answers.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Brian Scott Lipton, Cititour: Scott Ellis’ much-anticipated revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 work “Doubt: A Parable,” now at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s recently renamed Todd Haimes Theatre, checks off all the previous boxes, for better and worse. Most importantly, though, it proves the case – beyond any doubt – what a well-structured theatrical work Shanley crafted.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: It’s tempting to chalk this up to Ryan’s last-minute substitution for Tyne Daly, who bowed out as the production began previews. And though, perhaps, some time will benefit the production, it seems impossible to fault Ryan, who is soul-shakingly effective. Her Sister Aloysius is stoney and near-monotone, as if registering emotion would seem to her ungodly or, worse, unproductive. The actor makes an art out of frozenness: her physical rigidity — at times cutting a monolithic silhouette in her nun’s habit (by Linda Cho) — is richly unwavering, whether due to resoluteness or paralysis. She’s matched by her castmates, as well as David Rockwell’s exquisite church set, which rotates to fold in on itself even as its cloistered garden provides a glimmer of hopeful ascent. If this Doubt leaves room for growth, there is still none left as to the play’s intense brilliance.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Aramide Timubu, Variety: Amid David Rockwell’s beautifully built rotating set depicting the church’s windows, a garden and the principal’s office, what’s exceedingly interesting about “Doubt,” aside from Schreiber’s standout performance, has nothing to do with Sister Aloysius’ indication or righteousness or if Father Flynn is or isn’t a pedophile. Instead, the play highlights how easy it is for influential people to prey on the vulnerable and how the systems we revere are complicit in demonizing those with the most to lose, while shielding the powerful from harm and repercussions. Uncomfortable and thought-provoking, the themes of “Doubt” have never been more urgent. Yet, the moral lesson at the story’s center worked best in the 2008 film, when the performances and characters could stretch beyond the limits of one confining act.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan David Cote, Observer: Also unexpected, from Shanley: Doubt is not an urban love story or whimsical mediation on the courtship rituals of men and women. Let me qualify that last point. Doubt is very much about female agency in a male-dominated institution, and how, while trying to fight an injustice you know is real, you may perpetuate evil. It would be absurd if it weren’t so tragic.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan Lane Williamson, The Stage: With an imbalance between them, as well as between Ryan and Quincy Tyler Bernstine (excellent in a single scene as Donald’s mother), the production wobbles. The electric confrontation between Aloysius and Flynn is underpowered and prevents the play from reaching its climax. Ryan should be applauded for learning this titanic role and creating her portrayal in what limited time she had. But everything about the world of Ellis’ production is calibrated for a different performance.

Review Roundup: DOUBT Returns To Broadway Starring Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan
Average Rating: 81.0%


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