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Rookie Belts A Holmes Run

New York Post
1/16/09
By Michael Riedel


Katie Holmes & John Lithgow starred in "All My Sons."

YOU gotta hand to it to Katie Holmes: She didn't start out as much of a draw in "All My Sons," but by the time it closed last week, the Arthur Miller revival had turned a tidy profit.

Its success is yet another reminder of the waning power of New York drama critics, many of whom whacked both the highly stylized production and Mrs. Tom Cruise in particular. ("Katie Holmes can't act," The Observer's John Heilpern said on "Theater Talk" last week. "She simply cannot act.")

The negative notices were smothered by countless items on Internet gossip sites. GossipGirl.com, for instance, reported what Holmes wore to the theater every day. (For the record, it was usually a sweater.)

As one production source said: "Ticket sales responded accordingly. Nobody who cares what Katie Holmes wears to work reads reviews."

So now that she's a bona-fide Broadway star, what's Holmes going to tackle next?

Brace yourself, John Heilpern - she wants to do a musical.

(Who knew you could take singing and dancing lessons at the Theater District's Church of Scientology?)

Producers, investors and theater owners were surprised to see Holmes in an invitation-only reading the other week of "Finding Neverland," a musical based on the 2004 Johnny Depp film about "Peter Pan" creator J.M. Barrie.

Holmes played Barrie's wife. A source who attended the reading says the role "isn't very big but has a few nice moments." The source added that Holmes "was very good."

"Finding Neverland" tells the story of Barrie's infatuation with a widow, whose five sons were the inspiration for Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

Christian Borle, the former Mr. Sutton Foster, played Barrie, and Kate Baldwin played the widow, a far more pivotal role than Holmes'.

The score is by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, who wrote "Grey Gardens." Alan Knee adapted the show from his 1990 play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan." Rob Ashford is directing, and Harvey Weinstein is the producer.

Reactions to the reading were mixed. The story is "lovely," one person said, but the show "still needs to be fleshed out."

Another said that while Borle was terrific as the repressed but tender Barrie, the musical "borders on being too precious."

A third person called it "arty" and "strictly nonprofit."

If they haven't done so already, the creators would do well to take a look at "The Lost Boys," the superb 1978 BBC series starring an unforgettable Ian Holm as Barrie.

If the musical can capture the spirit of the series, it'll be a winner.

Meanwhile, I have a scoop for GossipGirl.com. At the reading, Katie Holmes was wearing . . . a sweater.

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