Credit Lou Rocco/ABC
Rosie O’Donnell will return to the stage in the New Group production of David Rabe’s “Good for Otto” this spring.
She will join Ed Harris and Amy Madigan in a cast that, according to an announcement on Thursday, will also include F. Murray Abraham, Rileigh McDonald and Michael Rabe, the playwright’s son.
A former talk-show host and self-proclaimed theater “fanatic,” Ms. O’Donnell played Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway in 2005, and had parts in the musicals “Seussical” and “Grease,” but this will be her first steady role in an Off Broadway production. (She was part of the rotating cast in “Love, Loss and What I Wore.”)
“Good for Otto” tells the story of the doctors, patients, and families connected by a rural Connecticut mental health clinic. Ms. O’Donnell is slated to play Nora, the foster mother of a daughter, Frannie, who suffers from serious depression.
The production’s director, Scott Elliott, explained in an interview that the casting of Ms. O’Donnell was a result of their friendship and mutual desire to work together.
“I’ve asked her to do some readings over the years,” he said. “I just think she’s an amazing actress. When I read this play, which really speaks to the human condition, I thought this was a role she’d really relate to because she’s a thoughtful and compassionate person.
“I didn’t think she’d do it,’’ he added, “but I sent it to her and in less than 24 hours she responded and said she would.”
The New York production will begin previews Feb. 20 for a March 9 opening at the Pershing Square Signature Center.