The Girl Next Door
Katie Holmes couldn’t resist making ‘Dead Accounts,’ a comedy about a brother and sister, her next Broadway role
She'll co-star with Norbert Leo Butz in Theresa Rebeck play, starting previews Nov. 3 at the Music Box Theatre
York Daily News
By Joe Dziemianowicz
Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Katie Holmes was the baby of the brood with three older sisters and one older brother.
“Sibling relationships are so intense — and in the best way,” says the actress, adding she hasn’t forgotten “one minute that I’ve shared with each of my siblings.”
Holmes’ hometown memories inform and inspire her work as Lorna in the Broadway play “Dead Accounts,” now in rehearsals and starting previews Nov. 3 at the Music Box Theatre.
Set in Cincinnati, the play by “Smash” creator Theresa Rebeck revolves around the chaos that ensues when Lorna’s brother Jack returns to the Midwest from New York with a mysterious windfall and without his wife.
“There’s nothing more complicated than going home,” says Norbert Leo Butz, a two-time Tony Award winner from St. Louis, who plays Jack. “There’s something mysterious about it. It brings in questions about identity, faith, mortality, morals, ethics — all those things.
“All of those huge questions,” he adds, “are being raised in this lighthearted and frothy play.”
It’s a near-180 from Holmes’ first turn on Broadway in a 2008 revival of Arthur Miller’s drama “All My Sons.” Four years and one husband — Tom Cruise — later, the divorced 33-year-old Holmes was in the mood for something less dark.
“I’ve been looking to go onstage since ‘All My Sons,’” says Holmes, adding that she was open to another revival or shifting gears for a new play. “I’ve been a fan of Theresa’s. It’s really great to do a new play that you’re going make people laugh — I hope.”
A week and a half into rehearsals of the play, Holmes says she and Butz are discovering the sorts of details — such as behaviors and body language — that make Lorna and Jack tick as brother and sister.
“We have a big job,” says Holmes, “and it’s fun and it’s great to keep doing it every day.”
And they’re not doing it alone. The cast includes Jayne Houdyshell, as Jack and Lorna’s doting mother; Judy Greer, as Jack’s much-disliked wife, and Josh Hamilton, as a family friend. Tony winner Jack O’Brien directs.
Part of the brother-sister bonding work was already done for Holmes and Butz, since both grew up in the Midwest. “They both instinctively understood the language of the play,” says Rebeck.
They also understand why the play opens with a scene in which Jack gorges on ice cream. During rehearsals Holmes observed: “Of course it’s got dairy. It’s Ohio.”