"It felt like Christmas," the actress tells PEOPLE after her opening night in All My Sons

By Jeffrey Slonim
Updated October 17, 2008 09:25 AM
Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Katie Holmes made her much-anticipated Broadway debut Thursday night, sharing the stage with respected Broadway veterans John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson. As if that weren’t challenging enough, she also had to tackle the high-drama of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. So, was she nervous?

“I was very, very excited!” Mrs. Tom Cruise told PEOPLE after taking her bow. “We had my whole family. Tom’s whole family. Friends flew in. It’s exciting.”

Those friends included Jada Pinkett Smith and Patricia Clarkson, who costarred with Holmes in the movie Pieces of April. Barbara Walters, Blythe Danner and Isabella Rossellini also filled out the star-studded audience.

After her performance – which Cruise’s mother, Mary Lee Mapother, declared, “Fantastic!” – Holmes chatted with PEOPLE:

PEOPLE: The show has been in previews for weeks. Did it feel different onstage tonight?
KH: There was definitely a lot more energy. The whole cast, we all got there about an hour and a half [early] and we had gifts for each other and we were running up and down the steps …. It felt like Christmas.

PEOPLE: Is Tom supportive?
KH: He comes [to the theater] a lot. He came to the dress rehearsal. I was so nervous, and I saw him out there, and he made me feel so much better. Every time he’s there, I just feel like it’s going to be okay.

PEOPLE: Is it difficult balancing your theater work with being a mom?
KH: It’s a great schedule, because [Suri and I] get to spend the whole day together and then I go and do the play. Then I come home and we play some more!

PEOPLE: And Suri had her own dressing room at the theater?
KH: Yeah, we have a dressing room that is transformed into a playroom. It has a little piano.

PEOPLE: First motherhood, then a marathon, and now your Broadway debut. What’s your next big challenge?
KH: Thanksgiving!