By Hollie McKay, ,
Published April 13, 2016
While it has been more than a year since Katie Holmes shocked the world by suddenly filing for divorce from superstar husband Tom Cruise, and in doing so severing ties with the controversial Church of Scientology, the ex-couple continues to be a source of gossip, fascination, and now, a hit play: ‘The TomKat Project.’
And while they are the target of the play’s many barbs, Cruise, Holmes and Scientology so far are staying mum about it, as our repeated calls to each have gone unanswered.
“At first I was a little worried about whether my phone would be tapped, or being followed,” playwright Brandon Ogborn told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column with a laugh. “But so far, I haven’t heard anything from the church.”
But just to be safe, the play’s creator did purchase WhoisBrandonOgborn.com. Why? The “Who Is” domain often becomes a smear site set up by Scientology against those who criticize the Church and its practices.
However Cruise’s attorney Bert Fields, who is also a key character in the play, told the New York Post earlier this year that he loves “a good spoof” about himself and would be open to seeing himself satirized on the stage. But has he had a change of heart?
“I haven’t seen it. Having been too cold, Chicago’s now too hot. So I’ve no plan to go there,” he told FOX411. “All I’ve heard is that I’m a character in the play.”
After selling out its run in Chicago, Ogborn’s “The TomKat Project” hits the New York Fringe Festival next month. The two-act comedy examines the courtship, marriage and dissolution of Hollywood’s power pair Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The play chronicles media coverage from 1998 through 2012, with seven actors bringing back to life scenes such as the infamous Oprah couch jumping incident and the U.S. to Iceland phone call Holmes reportedly made to end the marriage.
“I wanted to do more than just a sketch comedy show and at that time the divorce was happening… you had the innocent child (Suri Cruise) and the ‘evil overload’ of David Miscavige (the leader of Scientology and Cruise’s best man),” Ogborn said. “I thought a few people would come out to see it, but we ended up having to move it to a bigger space and it got crazy press and now we’re taking it to New York.”
In the process, Ogborn’s little production attracted an unexpected following within the community of ex Church of Scientology members, who relished in the skewering of the L. Ron Hubbard-founded religious organization and its current head honcho, Miscavige.
“Initially the concept of the show was to expose tabloid headlines, and raise the question of what is true and what is not. But there was a lot of research done on the church, although I found I had to limit that,” he continued. “It’s so dark; you could go down a wormhole.”
Yet “The TomKat Project” remains light-hearted and laugh-worthy, with Cruise and Miscavige’s bond depicted as something of a “Pope and King,” while Holmes embodies both the “damsel in distress and an opportunist.” The stage play also illuminates a society that hungrily feeds of celebrity rumors, trials and tribulations.
Once the New York run is done, Ogborn has high hopes of taking “The TomKat Project” to the hub of the Church of Scientology and its Celebrity Centre, located in the heart of Hollywood, and hopes a few key players will fill some seats in the audience.
“I would love it if David Miscavige came… or Leah Remini,” he said of the actress who recently parted ways with the organization.
According to an insider, former Scientologists are trying to get Remini to see the production.
“We think she’d like it,” said the source.
“The TomKat Project” is still running in Chicago and will make its New York debut at The Plays Theater August 20th through 24th. Tickets available at Fringe NYC.