OK, so America’s Sweetheart isn’t quite Broadway’s Sweetheart. At least not according to many legit critics.
Of Julia Roberts‘ Broadway debut in “Three Days of Rain,” Ben Brantley wrote in the New York Times that the star was “stiff with self-consciousness” and “only glancingly acquainted with the two characters she plays.”
“Hated the play,” ranted Clive Barnes in the New York Post. “To be sadly honest, even hated her.”
And the Washington Post’s Peter Marks opined, “Well, she gives it the old college try — and that is all she appears capable of.”
But really, who cares?
The show is already an unprecedented financial success, grossing close to $1 million a week, an exorbitant number for a show that isn’t a mega-tuner. Tickets are hard to come by for the rest of its 12-week run.
“From a business standpoint, it’s not very important,” says producer Marc Platt of the critical reception. “But one’s always interested, even though it’s a sellout.”
Platt and his star can take comfort in Roberts’ champions, including Newsday’s Linda Winer, who praised Roberts’ “lean, intelligent, altogether honorable performance.”
And even though many critics were underwhelmed by her stage presence, most admitted being unable to resist her charisma. Brantley labeled himself a “Juliaholic” and, on perhaps too personal a note, revealed that Roberts appears “in cameo roles in my dreams.”
Besides, if Roberts needs a dose of adoration, all she had to do is show up. Traffic-stopping crowds might be a more common sight in Hollywood, but such a frenzy of mass celeb-love is far rarer on West 45th Street.