K A T I E   H O L M E S :
The Girl Next Door

Tom 'Couldn't Be More Proud' of Katie

By Paul Chi

Katie Holmes made her Broadway debut in the revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" Thursday night – and her biggest fan was in the audience to cheer her on.

"I'm so proud of her," Holmes's husband, Tom Cruise, told PEOPLE before the curtain went up on the first preview at New York's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. (The show officially opens Oct. 16.) "This means so much to her."

Looking radiant in a royal blue 1940s -style dress, Holmes took the stage with a cast that includes Broadway vets John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson.

Originally produced in 1947 (two years before playwright Miller's masterpiece, "Death of a Salesman"), "All My Sons" tells the story of a man (Lithgow) who sells defective airplane parts to the Army, causing the death of 21 men.

His crime, which he blamed his business partner, comes back to haunt him when his son (Wilson) plans to wed his partner's daughter (Holmes).

At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour production, an enthusiastic Cruise joined the audience – which also included his Rain Man costar Dustin Hoffman – in a rousing standing ovation that lasted through three curtain calls.

Outside the theater, fans eager to get a glimpse of Holmes mobbed the stage door. The former Dawson's Creek star walked out casually dressed in a black shirt and pants and happily posed for pictures.

"She should be very proud of her performance," said Hoffman. "She did a fine job."

"All My Sons" curtain call: Katie Holmes (center), with John Lithgow (left)