The show received largely negative reviews from the critics, and only two Tony nominations, for Paul Gallo's lighting and Santo Loquasto's set. But it did get a heap of publicity, owing to Roberts' Hollywood star power, and a windfall at the box office. Though an announcement was never made, the production most likely returned its investment.
Roberts kept a fairly low profile during the run. She conducted interviews only when accompanied by her two co-stars, and did not lend her image to posters and advertisements. She made a brief appearance on the Tony Award broadcast as a presenter.
Roberts, moviedom's reigning female star, chose Greenberg's 1997 drama of shared and unknown history as the vehicle to bring her to the New York stage for the first time in her celebrated and Oscar-honored career. Her director was Broadway veteran Joe Mantello.
CAA agent George Lane was reportedly the man who first suggested the project. He represents Mantello, Greenberg and Roberts. He's the one that kinda made suggestions to all of us," Mantello told Playbill.com columnist Harry Haun, "but I think we all came together and thought it would be a good idea on our own. He does what an agent does: He makes you get there and pulls people together and says, 'You might like each other,' and, in this case, he was 100 percent correct."
Roberts played Nan, the practical sister of the erratic Walker (Rudd). The two are the children of a famous architect, who was business partners with the father of their longtime friend, Pip (Cooper), the play's third character. The first act finds the three, all somewhat estranged from one another, trying to dope out a journal left behind by Nan and Walker's dad, particularly the mysterious entry "three days of rain." In the second act, the time frame skirts back a few decades and the three play the parents of the first-act characters (in Roberts' case, a vivacious and unstable Southern belle). Marc Platt and David Stone and the Shubert Organization produced.
Three Days of Rain had scenic and costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Paul Gallo and sound design by David Van Tieghem.
Three Days of Rain was first produced Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1997, with Patricia Clarkson in the Roberts role, John Slattery as Walker and another Bradley—Whitford—as Pip. It was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.