NEW YORK Actress Katie Holmes won praise for her debut on Broadway on Thursday night, where she was cheered on by actor husband Tom Cruise and shouted at by anti-Scientology protesters outside the theater.
The drama started before the curtains went up in the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater with a group of about 20 protesters, some masked, chanting "Scientology is a cult" and "Free Katie", according to the New York Daily News.
Inside Cruise, star of "Mission: Impossible" and one of the best known members of the Church of Scientology, was the main attraction, swarmed by fans and agreeing to pose for photos, overshadowing Dustin Hoffman who was also present.
But once the real action started on stage, Holmes proved herself to be worthy of her co-stars, Tony winner John Lithgow, Oscar winner Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson, in Arthur Miller's classic "All My Sons", according to press reports.
"She was extraordinary," Cruise said with pride following two standing ovations for the cast, according to The Daily News.
Katie was "actually pretty good. She has her hands on her hips a lot like she's posing for pictures and she projects her voice a bit too much, but she's a good actress," one audience member told OK! magazine.
Previews for the play began on Thursday but the official opening is October 16.
Holmes, 29, shot to fame on the U.S. television series "Dawson's Creek" before marrying actor Cruise with whom she has a daughter Suri.
Most recently she starred in box office flop "Mad Money".
"All My Sons", based on the true story of a successful businessman who knowingly sold the government defective airplane parts during World War Two, was first performed on Broadway in 1947 and won Tony Awards for Miller and director Elia Kazan.
It was adapted for a 1948 film starring Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster and then performed again on Broadway in 1987.
Holmes plays the fiancee of the businessman's son, who is also the daughter of his partner.
Scientology was founded by science fiction writer Ron L. Hubard in Los Angeles more than 50 years ago and has a following among some Hollywood celebrities but is condemned as a cult in some quarters, including by the German government.