Oprah and other celebs pack the house at Roberts's Broadway opening

By Stephen M. Silverman
April 20, 2006 08:00 AM

Julia Roberts made her official Broadway debut Wednesday night in the play “Three Days of Rain,” and her fellow celebrities turned out in droves.

“I’m so excited,” Oprah Winfrey exclaimed on her way into the theater, the Associated Press reports, while Susan Sarandon called Roberts “gorgeous and confident.” Tim Robbins told the New York Daily News, “I think she did great.”

Also in the audience: James Gandolfini, Diane Sawyer, Dave Matthews, Rosie Perez, Marcia Gay Harden, Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr.

“I’m very happy,” Roberts said at a post-show party at the restaurant Cipriani on 42nd St. “I think it went really well, but I don’t want to use the word relieved.”

Roberts stars alongside Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper in the Richard Greenberg-written drama, which first ran off-Broadway in 1997. After several weeks of preview performances, the show is mostly sold out for its 12-week run, with scalpers reportedly getting as much as $600 for a ticket.

Critics were unimpressed by the play, which is about a dysfunctional family, but many said Roberts is the sole reason to see the show – even if her movie-star wattage doesn’t necessarily translate to the stage.

The New York Times called her performance “stiff with self-consciousness,” but admitted she’s “so deeply disturbingly beautiful that you don’t want to let her out of your sight.”