Once again, it was a mob scene outside the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Manhattan’s 45th Street Thursday night, as protesters, police and paparazzi gathered for the official opening night of All My Sons, the Arthur Miller play starring Katie Holmes in her first Broadway role.
The actress was able to slip into to the theater around 4:40, several hours before the play — and all the associated hubbub — started. According to show insiders, hubby Tom Cruise was able to slip unnoticed past the anti-Scientology protesters two hours later.
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Unlike the first night of previews for the show in September, which drew an angry mob directly outside the theater, the 50 or so anti-Scientologist picketers at Thursday’s show — most from a group known as "Anonymous" — were quarantined down the block from the venue.
Most protesters wore masks, some dressed as the lead rebel character from the 2007 movie V For Vendetta; one activist was even dressed up as Joe Jonas. They carried signs with slogans like “Save Katie and Suri – keep Tom,” “Religion is free – Scientology is not,” “Katie, What Has Scientology Cost You?” and chanted harsh words like, “Scientology Kills.”
The folks from Anonymous were offset by a throng of fans across the street who cheered their support for Katie and her family.
After the production started, the protesters were told there would be no more loud chanting permitted and the group dispersed for the evening.
Reverend John Carmichael, who is the President of the Church of Scientology in New York, attempted to undo the damage done by the protesters by claiming that Anonymous made threats of violence. He also alleged that a group member was responsible for a school shooting in Finland in November 2007.
After the show, Katie exited the theater around 9:45 and signed autographs for three minutes before heading to the cast afterparty.
"It was wonderful," Katie said following her opening night experience. "I’m just glad to be a part of it."
The former Dawson’s Creek star’s castmates also had kind words to say about the superstar.
"It’s really a pleasure," said All My Sons co-star Danielle Ferland. "She respects people. She’s one of the best people. Katie’s very generous… I think she’s a pro. She hasn’t done a lot of theater, and she’s amazing. It’s unbelievable."
By Valerie Nome