No ‘Doubt’ this play is in the black

Pulitzer Prize winner proves to be a B.O. prize as well

John Patrick Shanley’s much-heralded Broadway play “Doubt” has recouped its initial $2 million investment. The play officially went into the black during the week of June 13-19, 15 weeks since it began previews March 9 at the Walter Kerr Theater.

Play, Shanley’s Broadway debut, transferred to the Kerr from Manhattan Theater Club’s Off Broadway space, City Center Stage I, and went on to win this year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama and Tony Award for play, among other honors. It also won Tonys for director Doug Hughes, actress Cherry Jones and featured actress Adriane Lenox. Play’s other two thesps, Brian F. O’Byrne and Heather Goldenhersh, also were Tony-nommed.

Other commercial plays to recoup recently have been Billy Crystal’s solo play “700 Sundays”; “Julius Caesar,” starring Denzel Washington; “A Raisin in the Sun,” with Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad; “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” with Ashley Judd and Jason Patric; and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” with Brian Dennehy, Vanessa Redgrave, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert Sean Leonard.

The most recent new nonsolo play to recoup is “Life x 3,” featuring Helen Hunt and John Turturro.

To find the play before “Doubt” to recoup without a bankable star, you have to go back to Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog,” which also was a Pulitzer winner and starred Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def, whose names are well-known but arguably do not sell many tickets.

Last week “Doubt” earned a stellar $541,497, just a hair below its previous week’s take of $544,176, which was its best week and a Walter Kerr Theater house record.

Producers are MTC, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Scott Rudin and Roger Berlind.

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