Katie Holmes: Broadway Reunion? | Katie’s Rising Star; Playwrights Unite; Motown Loss | Obama: Election Day Write Stuff | Valkyrie: Now Starring … Kenneth Branagh? | Def Jam Tragedy

Katie Holmes: Broadway Reunion?

Katie Holmes is still on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s "All My Sons." Ironically, just two streets over is her former good friend from before she ran off with Tom Cruise.

Readers of this column will recall that Katie came to New York on April 4, 2005, to see her pal Rebecca Gayheart open in the Broadway production of "Steel Magnolias." On that night, Katie had never met or spoken to Tom Cruise. Some 16 days later, Holmes appeared on Cruise’s arm in Rome and announced he was the love of her life.

Gayheart, like most of Holmes’ friends, never saw her or heard from her again. Now Rebecca is on Broadway again, two just blocks away in the great comedy, "Boeing Boeing." She replaced Gina Gershon, who originated the role of the Italian stewardess.

When I saw Gayheart last night at the big show-biz celebration party for Barack Obama, all she would say on the matter was that she hadn’t seen Katie yet in New York and wasn’t sure if she knew they were around the corner from each other.

What Rebecca did tell me: "I miss my husband." Her spouse, Eric Dane, is Dr. McSteamy on "Grey’s Anatomy," which shoots in Los Angeles. "But I hadn’t worked for a while and this was such a great opportunity." The couple, dear fans of tabloid gossip, is still solid.

Gayheart wasn’t alone at the Obama fete, which was hosted by Harvey Weinstein. Georgette Mosbacher, Cindi Leive of Glamour magazine, and Jim Nelson of GQ. Also there from "Boeing Boeing" was Tony-winning star Mark Rylance, not to mention Gershon herself, who immediately chatted up "Spiderman" star James Franco.

There was also Josh Lucas, Jessica Alba, Salman Rushie and ex-wife Padma Lakshmi (at different times), Katie Lee Joel, James and Margo Nederlander, Peggy Siegal, not to mention Georgina Chapman Weinstein (she of Marchesa Designs fame), plus former New York Gov. George Pataki and daughter Emma stopped by just as Obama began his speech.

And no, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as so many of the people there at the Public House on East 41st Street proclaimed it a "great day" for America and the world. Several times during Obama’s speech, the newly elected president’s voice was drowned out by cheers and applause.

And while yes, the room was ebullient for Obama, there was a little gossip: Franco, one of my favorite young actors, is doing very well with his graduate creative-writing programs at Columbia University and New York University.

When will he get back to acting? "This summer?" he shrugged.

Don’t worry, he’s getting advance buzz for his role in Sean Penn’s "Milk." Maybe someone will screen it for us here in New York soon. …

And Jessica Alba is having a ball shooting "An Invisible Sign of My Own" with Chris Messina of "Vicki Cristina Barcelona" fame, even though she’s having pangs of guilt when she’s away from 5-month-old daughter Honor Marie.

And yes, famed attorney David Boies, who often does legal work for the Weinstein Company, was there at Public House just as a guest. He looked very relieved that the election went so easily, and without any need to plead the case of a nominee in front of the Supreme Court!

P.S. As this column is filed at 2 a.m., young people are still whooping it up in Union Square, celebrating the election of Obama. It’s a great night to be young in America and full of optimism again!

Katie’s Rising Star; Playwrights Unite; Motown Loss

Katie Couric stayed on the air until 2 a.m. this morning, then did a half-hour webcast. More on her Thursday, but what I’m told is that CBS News is ecstatic about the quality of her work, and her commitment. She made lemonade out of lemons. …

This very afternoon: The Outer Critics Circle and Samuel French, Inc., are presenting five hot playwrights — Tina Howe, Leslie Lee, Adam Rapp ("Kindness"), Michael Weller ("Fifty Words"), and the legendary 96-year-old Joseph Stein — he wrote the books to "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Zorba" — at the Eugenia Room at Sardi's, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Call the equally legendary Sardi’s for reservations. …Yes, you read that right — he’s 96! ...

The hit Los Angeles artist Andy Moses has a rare New York opening this afternoon at Bjorn Ressle Gallery on East 79th Street. Attention paps: Moses has a big celeb following. …

So much death this week in the music business: Jheryl Busby, 59, who ran Motown during the time of Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill, passed away yesterday. A great guy who loved the music and Motown. He will be sorely missed. …

Obama: Election Day Write Stuff

Whatever happens Tuesday with the presidential election, this much is a result: Barack Obama is a bestselling author.

And if the results of book sales translate into electoral votes, we could guess who wins today’s election without having to wait until polls close.

Obama’s words are interesting enough that he has not one but two books on the Amazon.com bestseller’s list. His "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" stands at No. 96 overall, of all books. That’s pretty impressive considering it’s hardcover only and sells on Amazon for $15.57. (The retail price is $25.95.)

Obama’s paperback, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," sells for just $7.99, which is like, almost free. That puts it at No. 39 for all books.

By contrast, John McCain’s "Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir," also priced on Amazon at $7.99, is holding steady at No. 1,393.

McCain’s other paperback, "Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life," is at No. 10,736. It also sells for $7.99.

Meanwhile, Obama’s chief naysayer, Jerome Corsi, would like just a few of those readers. His "Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," registers at only No. 1,271 as of last night.

On the vice presidential side, things aren’t so good for either candidate. But Sarah Palin’s freshness to the national political stage gives her some advantage. A biography of her by Kaylene Johnson called "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down" is at No. 669. Joe Biden’s most recent book, "Promises to Keep," is sitting largely unread and unloved at No. 43,523.

Valkyrie: Now Starring … Kenneth Branagh?

There’s yet a new trailer for Bryan Singer’s "Valkyrie," and this one seems to star … Kenneth Branagh.

That’s right. This is in a continuing effort — and I must say well executed one — to distance this troubled movie from earlier pictures of Tom Cruise and his unfortunate eye patch.

In the latest trailer, it’s Branagh who is seen first, along with well known British actors Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp. Heart pounding pulsating drum punctuating music plays as these actors describe what "Valkyrie" is about.

Only then is Cruise seen, but not in his original image with an eye patch and injury. Instead, it’s the "Lawrence of Arabia" version of Col. Claus von Stauffenberg that was introduced in the second trailer. And then, capitalizing on Cruise’s "Top Gun" persona that made him an international star, a fighter plan soars over Cruise’s head.

The new "Valkyrie" trailer, in fact, downplays Cruise as von Stauffenberg so much that at its conclusion a voice over introduces his character to Adolf Hitler as "Col. Stauffenberg," dropping the "von" part of his name and the very German-ness of it.

All of this goes along with the movie’s new Web site, which features a new, very creative poster. In it, not only is Cruise lacking von Stauffenberg’s eye patch, but all sign that the actors are playing Nazi soldiers. Indeed, Stamp seems to be wearing nothing but a dark business suit and tie. The way the other actors’ costumes are shadowed and airbrushed they could be nothing more than airline pilots.

But all is fair in war and film marketing when it comes to trailers and Web sites. And MGM, which is fighting for its life with "Valkyrie" and the new James Bond movie, is free to be as creative as it needs to be this fall.

With "Valkyrie" it has special problems, too, since there are no fewer than four movies this December with Nazi storylines. The most promising one is "The Reader," which at least has a romance at its core and a naked Kate Winslet!

Def Jam Tragedy

The folks at Island/DefJam Records are mourning the loss of Shakir Stewart, the 34-year-old executive vice president of the label overseen by L.A. Reid.

Stewart committed suicide over the weekend, shocking his colleagues, friends, and the recording artists he was close to including Beyonce and Jay Z.

I’m told drugs were not a factor, and that Stewart didn’t leave any kind of note.

His fiancée issued a statement that read in part: "It is difficult to express or explain in words what led to the tragic occurrence on Saturday. Over the past several weeks, Shakir's behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love. As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence. Please remember Shakir for who he was ... a wonderful father, partner, son and friend."