In case you haven’t heard, previews began Thursday night for the revival of Arthur Miller’s great play, "All My Sons," on Broadway.
In case you don’t know, Katie Holmes — aka Mrs. Tom Cruise — has a small role in the production which otherwise stars two-time Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest, Tony-winner and movie powerhouse John Lithgow and the up-and-comer Patrick Wilson.
The first night — which is not the opening night — was something of a circus, as I am told by two reliable sources who plunked down their money and went on to see the show.
For one thing, Mr. Holmes — aka Tom Cruise — was there, and he was no shrinking violet. A proud husband, Tom entered the Schoenfeld Theater to massive applause, thanks to the star-struck audience. Before he took his seat in the orchestra section, on the aisle, fifth row, he waved and bowed for the audience.
My spies say that at the end of the show, Tom was first on his feet with wildly enthusiastic applause, too. He doesn’t seem to get that this isn’t one of his kids’ soccer games, but hey, at least he’s a present and loyal husband.
One thing my peeps were surprised by: Lithgow and Wiest didn’t take separate star curtain calls. I’m told that they are so good, and the real reason for seeing this production, that they should re-think that plan. Perhaps they will in time.
I’m also told that Simon McBurney’s direction is superb. Lithgow, Wiest, McBurney, Miller. These are the reasons to see “All My Sons.” Even Katie Holmes knows that.
So how is Katie? “She doesn’t embarrass herself or anyone else,” my spy says. “She’s fine.”
Remember: This is what Katie wanted to do in New York before she met Tom. It’s what she told me at the premiere of “Steel Magnolias” on Broadway in April 2005. Call it a dream deferred.
Theater wags and tabloid gossips can’t have it both ways: If we want Katie Holmes to try to be the fine actress she was trying to be in “Pieces of April,” she shouldn’t be knocked for taking this part. More power to her for trying something hard and succeeding.
One odd observation by my spies: They say that about two dozen well-dressed young people poured into the theater with Cruise, and took orchestra seats.
“They were dressed like they were going to a nightclub. The vibe was weird. They all knew each other. It was not a regular theater crowd.” Future audiences should take note if this continues.
The other word from the Schoenfeld Thursday night was about the “protesters.” This is the group that calls itself Anonymous, wearing “V for Vendetta" masks.
They say they are against Scientology and shout out “Save Katie.” I must say, this is completely inappropriate. I hope they stop this as soon as possible. There is nothing to be gained by harassing theatergoers on West 45th Street.
Scientology has nothing whatsoever to do with this theater production. Causing this disruption is disrespectful to the professionals who are involved in “All My Sons.” Let’s leave them all alone.
By the way, Christian Camargo is in this production. He’s a fast-rising 30-something actor who’s also in a hot movie, “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow. His mom is actress Victoria Wyndham, the star of NBC’s "Another World” soap opera for almost 30 years. The actor doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say.
Well, I did tell you a long time ago that Michael Patrick King thought there would be sequels to “Sex and the City: the Movie.”
Thursday night at the Public Library party for the DVD of the film, he and Sarah Jessica Parker confirmed it. He’s off to write the next installment. Both SJP and Kim Cattrall told me they’re excited to see what he comes up with.
At the same time, Candace Bushnell announced that she’s writing a “prequel” to the ladies’ lives, taking them maybe from teen through college years to the time they all met.
King told me, quipping, “I’m thinking of doing an animated version of them as babies.”
SJP added, “Let’s wring everything we can out of this thing!”
It didn’t hurt that she was dressed and styled like a modern Audrey Hepburn, and that she worked the pink carpet full of media outside the Library like a pro. There just is not a more gracious movie or TV star around.
Meantime, Cynthia Nixon was upstairs in the Library with partner Christine Marinoni. Cynthia just won an Emmy (announced early) for guest star in a drama — “Law & Order: SVU.” That’s her second Emmy. Last year she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play — “Rabbit Hole” — on Broadway. She still needs a Grammy and an Oscar to tie Rita Moreno, who has one of each.
“Well, they are doing the 'Electric Company' again on PBS,” Cynthia joked. “Maybe I can be the new Rita Moreno there.”
Of the “SATC” guys, the only one I saw Thursday night was my old pal, Evan Handler, who plays Harry. (Kristin Davis, his on-screen wife, was working in Los Angeles.) Evan is off to do a book tour now for his latest memoir about surviving cancer called, “It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive.”
The book came out in May, but his publisher, Riverhead, was too cheap (my words, not his) to capitalize on his TV fame and send him out then. And publishers wonder why books don’t sell!
Anyway, a private group has put up the money, so he’s heading out on the road. The 25-city schedule is up on www.evanhandler.com. Check it out. If you’re a radio or TV producer, Evan is a great guest.
P.S. His current series, “Californication,” with David Duchovny returns to Showtime on Sept. 28.
The great producer and raconteur Pierre Cossette is getting feted on Oct. 4 by the Lili Claire Foundation in Los Angeles. “Friends” star Matthew Perry is the evening’s host, and my friends Randy Jackson and Joyce Moore are the honor dinner chairpeople. Ed Roland, and his brother Dean of the band Collective Soul, are the musical entertainment.
Pierre (and his beautiful wife Mary) have brought us a lot of entertainment, including “The Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway (they won a Tony for that). But there would have been no Grammy Awards for the last 30 years without Pierre. He’s the guy who made it happen.
Expect a lot of Grammy-sized toasts at the Santa Monica Civic Center. I’m hoping to hear one of NARAS chief Neil Portnow’s excellent speeches. Call 310-396-4355 or 888-999-LILI (5454) for tickets and info. …
The superlative actor Matthew Modine and his intrepid wife Cari are hosting Bicycle for a Day Saturday at South Street Seaport in New York City. Join Matthew and Olympian Sharon Seagrave at 10 a.m. sharp at Pier 17 for a bike ride followed by a concert given by Lukas Haas and Ben Jelen, as well as other green festivities.
You can read all about it at www.bicycleforaday.com. (I love that they use “Reach Out of the Darkness” as their theme song, too!) …
Ben Taylor, son of Carly Simon and James Taylor, has been releasing music on his own label for a few years after a bad experience with Epic Records in the late '90s.
Saturday night at Joe’s Pub in New York (next to the Public Theater), he’s showcasing songs from his new album, “The Legend of Kung Folk.” The 10-track CD finally shows Ben in full bloom as an artist, singer and songwriter. It’s an impressive and disarming work, which isn’t to say it’s not also fun and immensely easy to hum. This is what John Mayer could be if he’d just relax and stop trying so damn hard. You can hear some of Ben’s terrific songs on his MySpace page. …
There may be a few tickets left for the great Michele Lee’s special performance this Monday night at Birdland in New York. The show is a fundraiser for the Actors Fund. Call 212-581-3080 for info.
The “Knots Landing” star had a big hit on Broadway with the comedy, “Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” a few seasons ago. But she’s best known for musicals like “Seesaw” and “How to Succeed in Business.”
It’s time she starred in a new musical. Producers, are you listening?