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The Girl Next Door

Katie Holmes returns to Broadway with ‘Dead Accounts,’ earns mixed reviews

The Celebrity Cafe
By Daniel S Levine

Katie Holmes is back on Broadway, starring in Dead Accounts, a new play by Theresa Rebeck.

Thursday night was the show’s opening night. Holmes stars as Lorna, who lives with her parents in Cincinnati. Her brother returns home with some new secrets to reveal to the family. The play also stars Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz and is directed by Jack O’Brien.

According to USA Today, the former Mrs. Tom Cruise had a wide smile on her face after the show, clearly enjoying being in front of an audience again. She was later spotted at the after-party with her parents, Brooke Shields, Maggie Grace and Lily Rabe.

As for the critics, Holmes earned a mixed response. The New York Times noted that she did appear “much more at ease playing a worn-down country mouse to the hyped-up city mouse of Mr. Butz” than she did four years ago on Broadway in All My Sons.

“Gamely unkempt and lumpen, Ms. Holmes suggests what might have happened to Joey Potter, the ultimate girl-next-door she once portrayed on TV in Dawson’s Creek, had she never found true love or left town,” the Times adds.

USA Today agrees that she is more comfortable in Dead Accounts, but “her restless, shouting Lorna is too much of an overgrown kid. That's certainly part of the character, but you can't help but wonder what a slightly more mature, nuanced actress might have brought to the role.”

The Huffington Post said that she was “convincing” in the role.

"Let's just say [Holmes] looks fabulous in that just-bumming-around-but-still-gorgeous way that helps TMZ make its payroll," sniffs the Los Angeles Times. "But there's only so much that can be done with a play that has more topical urgency (greed, ethics and banking funny business) than dramatic finesse...[Playwright Theresa Rebeck] wants the profundity of mortality and her easy laughs too. She comes up empty-handed."

"[Holmes] brings a lovely naturalness to her first starring Broadway role, along with frazzled warmth and judicious glimmers of a more brittle edge," offers The Hollywood Reporter. "Holmes animates her with an appealingly fresh stage presence." The play itself, however, is "never acquires thematic coherence."

"Nothing ever gets cooking because Rebeck is far more interested in executing a simple, schematic plan for gentle amusement than in plumbing the depths she hints at," scoffs New York Magazine. "Holmes is insanely miscast but sunnily game in the role of a ground-down never-was with body image issues and a crater where her confidence should be."

• The Associated Press notes that "Holmes plays an 'old but pretty' woman who...only flashes her beauty once, freeing her hair and looking seductive—enough to remind you what a head-turner she can be. It's a brave move for the 33-year-old, who deserves credit for trying hard." Still, the star "relies too much on a whiny teenage angst and a guilelessness that worked on TV but lacks nuance onstage."

Dead Accounts is playing at the Music Box Theater through Feb. 24.