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Take a bow after 'All My Sons' wraps, Katie Holmes: You earned it

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New York Daily News
1/7/09
By Joe Dziemianowicz

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Katie Holmes on Broadway. It wasn't so long ago when it was announced that Mrs. Tom Cruise would make her New York stage debut in, of all things, the hard-hitting Arthur Miller drama "All My Sons."

The instant that news broke, so did the guessing game: Would ­Katie be any good? Would she sell tickets? Could she handle a Broadway schedule? And would her husband jump on the seats at the theater?

On Sunday, four months after previews began on Sept. 18, "All My Sons" ends its limited run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The answers to those questions have emerged. They are, in order: yes, yes, yes and no — though Tom frequently sat in the seats to watch his wife at work.

And work she did. The 30-year-old actress, famous from TV's "Dawson's Creek" and such films as "Batman Begins" and "Pieces of April," turned in a fine performance as a young woman in love with a man whose father is hiding a terrible secret. She blended in with stage vets John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson.

Yes, Holmes was mannered at times, as my review of the production stated. She sometimes shouted her lines as if projecting for the audience in the theater next door. But that had as much to do with the non-naturalistic staging as it did with her own acting ability. Fact is, the back half of TomKat carried her own.

And, it's worth mentioning, she always showed up.

To date, she hasn't missed a single performance. Holmes embraced Broadway, and her appetite for the stage seemed to deepen because of this experience.

She's reportedly been offered the Kate Winslet role in a musical version of "Finding Neverland," about the writer who created Peter Pan.

Holmes declined a request to comment for this story, but that possible offer could be a fascinating followup to "All My Sons." Katie Holmes on Broadway: the second act.

By all accounts, she'd be welcomed back.

That's not always the case. Although film and TV stars are common on New York's main stage, their experiences and results are wildly mixed.

Consider Jeremy Piven, who exited "Speed-the-Plow" prematurely, citing sickness from mercury poisoning after too much sushi.

The fishy excuse soured many people on the "Entourage" Emmy winner, whose picture has been removed wherever possible on the marquee of the Barrymore Theatre.

That's only logical, but the facade now looks like a wedding album with the groom's mug delated after a bitter bustup.

Who knows the whole story behind Piven's tale?

It must be grueling to hit the same mark and say the same lines, day after day, week after week, month after month. What helps get you through, however, is desire, dedication, discipline and a willingness to be part of a team. Broadway is a collaborative art.

Holmes seemed to get that. And she's in good company. When Julia Roberts starred in "Three Days of Rain," she never missed a show or pulled a diva act. Ditto Hugh Jackman, who was ever-present for a year when he carried "The Boy From Oz" on his shoulders.

On Sunday, Holmes' final curtain call will mean there's a gap in the glittery Broadway guessing game. But don't worry. The always unpredictable Jane Fonda will be here in "33 Variations" in a mere four weeks. Let the new round of speculation begin.

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