All the celebrities who have starred in ‘Doubt’

There's no doubt that the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play is a magnet for stars, including Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber in the current Broadway revival.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

Gray areas are juicy, provocative places to explore in art. That’s why John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 play Doubt: A Parable, now in its first Broadway revival at the Todd Haimes Theatre, resonates so much with audiences – and actors.

Set in a Catholic school in the Bronx in 1964, the drama revolves around a high-stakes battle between Father Flynn, a teacher, and Sister Aloysius, the rigid principal who questions Flynn's relationship with a young male student.

Doubt has always exerted a mighty magnetic pull on stars eager to play the complex characters on both stage and screen. Amy Ryan and Liev Schreiber are the latest celebrities to take on Aloysius and Flynn, whose showdown raises issues about power, faith, and the fallout of uncertainty. Just as Shanley’s drama leaves room for interpretation, the characters are rich enough for each new cast to put their marks on the roles.

We look back on celebrities – including Tony and Oscar winners and nominees – who have tackled the play. Then get tickets to Doubt on Broadway — there's no doubt Ryan and Schreiber are unmissable.

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Amy Ryan

Tony and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan leads director Scott Ellis’s 2024 Doubt revival as the conservative Sister Aloysius. Ryan was last on Broadway in 2005 as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, a performance that earned her a Tony nomination. She was also up for the award for playing Sofya in Uncle Vanya in 2000. Off Broadway, Ryan has appeared in Detroit and Love, Love, Love.

Ryan’s work in the movie Gone Baby Gone earned her an Oscar nod. She’s also known for vivid onscreen turns in Birdman, Capote, Bridge of Spies, and the TV shows Only Murders in the Building and The Office.

She stepped up to Doubt last-minute to replace a different stage and screen star: Emmy and Tony Award winner Tyne Daly, who withdrew from the production to receive medical care.

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Liev Schreiber

Liev Schreiber, an actor who toggles seamlessly between stage and screen, plays the progressive Father Flynn in Doubt in 2024. TV fans will recognize Schreiber – and his distinct, deep voice – from his Emmy-nominated star turn as a Hollywood fixer in Ray Donovan. He’s shown his versatility playing an editor, a supervillain, and a political candidate, respectively, in the films Spotlight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Manchurian Candidate.

Since debuting on Broadway in 1993 In the Summer House, Schreiber won a Tony for Glengarry Glen Ross and been nominated for Talk Radio and A View from the Bridge. Off Broadway, he’s played title roles in Macbeth and Hamlet and tackled various other Shakespeare characters.

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Quincy Tyler Bernstine

In the Doubt Broadway revival, Quincy Tyler Bernstine plays Mrs. Muller, the mother of a boy whose relationship with Father Flynn comes under scrutiny. (Adriane Lenox originated the role off and on Broadway and won a Tony for her performance.)

Winner of the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in the Theatre, Bernstine proved herself with numerous stage roles run the gamut: classics (The Misanthrope, As You Like It), musicals (Far From Heaven), comedies (In the Next Room) and dramas (Ruined, Marys Seacole). Her screen roles include a detective in Ray Donovan, on which her Doubt co-star Schreiber also appeared.

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Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan plays Sister James, a young and compassionate Catholic nun entangled in the conflict between Flynn and Aloysius. Since making her Broadway debut in 2008 in Come Back, Little Sheba, Kazan has also appeared in The Seagull and A Behanding in Spokane.

Kazan’s Off-Broadway acting highlights include roles in Love, Love, Love (opposite her Doubt co-star Amy Ryan) and revivals of Angels in America and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She is also a playwright, and two of her works — We Live Here and After the Blast — have appeared off Broadway.

Film audiences may recognize Kazan from Ruby Sparks, which she wrote; The Big Sick; and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

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Meryl Streep

A global superstar and a go-to actor when plays go from stage to screen, Meryl Streep jumped at the chance to play Sister Aloysius in the 2008 film, which Shanley directed.

Wearing glasses and sporting a Bronx accent, Streep earned her 15th Oscar nod as the prickly principal. She didn’t win the Academy Award on this occasion, but she did for her work in Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady.

Streep, like many stars, launched her career on stage. She made her Broadway debut in 1975 in Trelawny of the “Wells”, and she starred in four more Broadway shows in the next two years.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman had already won a Best Actor Academy Award for Capote by the time he took on the part of Father Flynn. The role brought one of Hoffman’s three Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations – a trio that includes Charlie Wilson’s War and The Master.

Hoffman was also Tony-nominated for his three Broadway shows: Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and True West, for which he won a Theatre World Award.

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Viola Davis

Viola Davis stepped into the small but pivotal part of Mrs. Muller in the Doubt film. Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her take on the character, whose surname morphed to Miller.

Before Doubt, Davis was known for her work in August Wilson plays. In 2001, she won a Tony for King Hedley II and, later, earned another for Fences and an Oscar for the film version. She also starred in The Help and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (which each earned her an Oscar nom) and won an Emmy Award for How to Get Away with Murder. With a 2023 Grammy Award, Davis became the 18th person to earn EGOT status.

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Amy Adams

By the time Amy Adams played the quiet Sister James opposite Streep on screen, she had carved out a busy big-screen career. Since breaking out with an Oscar nod for Junebug in 2005, she’s been nominated five more times – for Doubt, The Fighter, The Master, American Hustle, and Vice. Her work in Enchanted, Arrival, and Julie & Julia also helped make her a household name.

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Cherry Jones

Cherry Jones originated the role of Sister Aloysius in the 2004 Off-Broadway run of Doubt alongside Brian F. O’Byrne as Father Flynn, Heather Goldenhersh as Sister James, and Adriane Lenox as Mrs. Muller. All four actors moved to Broadway when the show did, and were all nominated for Tonys.

By the time Jones came to Doubt, she’d won a Tony in 1995 for The Heiress and already established herself as a major theatre star. Jones later won Emmy Awards for her work in 24, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Succession.

Eileen Atkins, Ron Eldard, and Jena Malone

In January 2006, Dame Eileen Atkins took over Jones’s role on Broadway. Atkins, a 2008 Emmy winner for Cranford, has been nominated four times for a Tony. The first nod was in 1967 for The Killing of Sister George, followed by Vivat! Vivat Regina! in 1972, Indiscretions in 1995, and The Retreat from Moscow in 2004.

Ron Eldard (True Love, ER) and Jena Malone (Donnie Darko, The Hunger Games, Pride & Prejudice) took over the roles of Father Flynn and Sister James at the same time.

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