Members say: Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Disappointing

About the show

Through the microcosm of a rural Connecticut mental health center, Tony-winning playwright David Rabe conjures a whole American community on the edge in the New Group's New York premiere starring Ed Harris.

... Read more

Like their patients and their families, Dr. Michaels (Ed Harris), his colleague Evangeline (Amy Madigan) and the clinic itself teeter between breakdown and survival, wielding dedication and humanity against the cunning, inventive adversary of mental illness, to hold onto the need to fight – and to live. Inspired by a real clinic, Rabe finds humor and compassion in a raft of characters adrift in a society and a system stretched beyond capacity.


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$75 orchestra tickets and $59 balcony tickets valid for performances through April 15, 2018. Cannot be combined with any other discount or applied to previously purchased tickets. Limit 8 tickets per person. Not applicable for premium seating. Dates, programming and artists subject to change. Subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges. All orders subject to a $2 per ticket facility fee plus an additional $6 per ticket service fee for phone and online orders.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

45
Theatermania

"Snooze of a play...Regrettably, not even an all-star cast can enliven this meandering stroll past a vitally important topic...Individually compelling storylines emerge from the play, buoyed mostly by the acting...Unfortunately, the format of therapy doesn't easily lend itself to drama, which is most powerful when its characters are in dialogue. It is difficult to get that jolt of dramatic electricity when one character pours his heart out and the response from his scene partner is a silently... Full Review

35
The New York Times

"Mr. Rabe is not usually so squishy...But 'Good for Otto,' in which the battleground is the disturbed human psyche, is structured as a series of gassy monologues...The problem of mental health coverage wants a fuller, more serious treatment than that. But the play uses the issue as topical bait...At nearly three hours, 'Good for Otto' is a long and shapeless slog...Here, under Scott Elliott’s direction, it is unconvincing and overacted." Full Review

65
Time Out New York

"Director Scott Elliott hurries our emotions along with bathetic piano arpeggios every time something sad happens. Rabe’s intentions are wonderful; he’s taking inspiration from an actual clinic, and as a paean to the real world’s heroic therapists, 'Good for Otto' flourishes like a trumpet. But three hours of trumpeting grows tiring. Over the play’s considerable length, there are several false notes, and even the right ones start to wear on the ear." Full Review

75
Village Voice

"Elliott's fluid, transparent direction gives the affair an agreeably psychiatric 'Our Town' vibe...What prevents 'Otto' from becoming a predictable parade of case studies or medical-show clichés is Rabe's vivid, punchy prose, but also the outstanding cast...So, the script could use a few cuts, and a crucial role is miscast. However, the cumulative force of Rabe's deep, searching empathy, combined with the sheer variety of human experience on view, is impressive." Full Review

55
Lighting & Sound America

"At times, 'Good for Otto' seems bent on going wrong in every way imaginable...The patients crowd each other out, never holding the stage long enough to grab one's full attention...The first act of 'Good for Otto,' it is the opposite of drama...Second act picks up a bit...Scattered, skittish collection of scenes...Loaded with good actors, all of whom perform as well as their roles will allow...It's hard not to feel that the actors are having a better time than the audience." Full Review

60
The Guardian (UK)

"The roles are well played and sometimes there’s a symphonic richness to the ways in which characters and themes appear and fade. Elliott’s staging, with its melding of actors and audience suggests that we all experience pain and that we would all benefit by coming together to discuss it. And that’s laudable. But it also suggests 'Good for Otto’s' unwieldy ambition...The play resolves too few of these cases to seem entirely satisfying and too many of them to seem entirely believable." Full Review

60
Theater Life

"Rabe offers a more ambitious and sobering view of mass suffering...Elliott’s staging and the performances of the large cast are appropriately realistic, but at nearly three hours, the stories blend together and the play loses focus. Rabe needs a ruthless editor to separate the excess from the essence. The shorter vignettes work best...Sterling actors like F. Murray Abraham, Rhea Perlman, and Maulik Pancholy are trapped in overdrawn storylines." Full Review

45
Theatre's Leiter Side

"The play is little more than three tedious hours of an interweaving set of brief therapy sessions introducing the problems of a series of disturbed persons…Only in one scene, when Dr. Michaels engages in a frustrating phone call with…an insurance agency bureaucrat, does 'Good for Otto' suggest the stronger play it might have been, one that more directly exposes and lambastes the inadequacies of our healthcare system and its inability to serve the people fairly." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

"A big, meaty, monologue-driven drama...It's performed by a mostly first-rate ensemble...It's laced with poignant passages...But it's also baggy and structurally monotonous, not to mention didactic and dated...Moments of intense dramatic impact but overall feels too diffuse...This shapeless play loses rather than gathers steam, ultimately seeming more like a docudrama patchwork with messy stitching than a satisfying, fully realized theatrical work." Full Review

95
The Wall Street Journal

"One of the best new plays to come along in recent seasons. What’s more, it’s being performed by the very best ensemble cast in town...The results remind us that in the hands of the finest writers, there’s no such thing as a cliché, since human life is always the same—and always new...Impeccably true to everyday life...I’ve never seen a show that was as realistic in its portrayal of therapy and crisis intervention...Our attention never wanders." Full Review

45
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Anyone hearing that The New Group is mounting a Rabe play can be excused for getting their hopes up...The hotsy-totsy cast that Elliott has assembled for this venture could easily raise such hopes, even higher. But the playwright dashes them...The play revolves around depictions of shrink sessions and it lasts for three hours...Painfully repetitive as real-life analysis can be...Stuffed with terrific parts for actors...What's good for Otto may not be good for audience." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

"There are numerous sparkling performances to be found here, but unfortunately they often get lost in a work that is fractured, overly long, and saddled with more than a few bouts of navel-gazing...Elliott and his team throw in a variety of odd tricks to punctuate the action...Outbreaks of song, a highly random use of snow, and seating a couple dozen audience members on stage...Still and all, a cluttered Rabe play is better than no Rabe play." Full Review

70
Times Square Chronicles

"Has some wonderful performances entangled in a play that seems sad, melancholy, wistful, and lost...I wanted to sob when the play was over. 'Good for Otto' touched me, but I haven't a clue as to why...Actors sit onstage next to audience members. It seems as if we are all in group therapy...If we could understand the whys of these snippets of cases or just concentrate on one or two of these, this play might have more of an impact." Full Review

75
Front Mezz Junkies

"A tale for and about therapists and the brave souls that want and attempt to repair themselves through treatment...What a lovely piece of writing this gift is, especially in the way that the story is directed with an easy but exacting eye for engagement...Rabe has crafted a finely sculptured piece...filled with thoughtful and authentic interpersonal engagements...Beautifully enacted by the gifted actors...The big picture that should envelope 'Good for Otto' is never quite clear or in focus." Full Review

65
CurtainUp

"The grim overall realism is further brightened with some lovely fantasy imbued musical interludes. Unfortunately, while Mr. Rabe has taken on an important subject, and managed to include the problems of funding committed caregivers, 'Good for Otto' tries to do too much...Fortunately, Scott Elliott has assembled an excellent cast that includes enough charismatic performances to make 'Good For Otto' good enough to see despite the longueurs in this uncut version." Full Review

90
TheaterScene.net

"From the evidence presented in Rabe's 'Good for Otto,' his 2015 play now having its New York premiere, there is a good deal wrong with the mental health system. Unfortunately, the play at three hours is overlong and delivers a great deal of undigested material. Inspired by Dr. O'Connor's book Undoing Depression, 'Good for Otto' tries to tell too many stories and wastes the talent of six major stars: husband and wife team Ed Harris and Amy Madigan..." Full Review

90
Talkin' Broadway

"A masterwork about the care and treatment of mental illness, written by a playwright at the top of his game and being presented in a commanding production...Filled with richly portrayed characters...This production is being helmed with an appropriately unobtrusive touch by The New Group's artistic director Scott Elliott and is blessed with a collaborative ensemble of 14 excellent actors who allow David Rabe's richly-wrought words to tell the story through them." Full Review

35
The Wrap

"Good for Otto' features not one but two therapists, played with great charisma and easy style by Ed Harris and Amy Madigan...Dr. Michaels’s repertory of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' songs is pure cornball, as are most of the villagers who visit his clinic...The folksiness of their completely white world is cloying, at best, and unbelievable outside a Frank Capra movie...Scott Elliott’s direction wrings out every dollop of schmaltz in the script." Full Review

85
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"A wide-ranging exploration of mental problems with an excellent cast...Harris is excellent here as a dominating force in Rabe's unusual drama...Madigan is effective in illuminating the concerns the playwright raises...Rabe gives Abraham colorful lines and he is commanding...It is to Rabe's credit that he manages to cover so much territory, and it is to Elliott's credit that the various threads are illuminated clearly as they are woven into the play's overall psychiatric portrait." Full Review

65
Financial Times (UK)

"Delivers a scathing critique of US health-insurance bureaucracy...As drama, 'Otto' is less successful. For while therapy might be good for you, watching half-a-dozen motley patients talk to their shrinks eventually becomes rather maddening...Despite generally excellent performances, Elliott struggles to maintain a sense of momentum and cohesion over the course of three hours...Some of the disconnected stories are genuinely moving." Full Review

75
Theater Pizzazz

"A prime example of the frustrations, complications and realities of dealing with mental illness. But find humor Rabe does with an all-star cast...The takeaway, it takes a lot to be brave, especially those under mental siege, to fight the battles, to seek wisdom, help and climb the ladder of survival." Full Review

65
Theatre is Easy

"A large, dazzling cast of talented and well-known actors helps to compensate for a bloated script...Attempts to follow the threads of many characters and the intricacies of their disordered thinking...Taking up further stage time are many musical numbers...While these certainly do serve to lighten the looming darkness of the characters' lives, Rabe could have cut a few and devoted more time to his patients finding resolution...Eschews standard plot structure, and lacks a clear climax." Full Review

80
BlogCritics.org

"A stellar cast...The play is ambitious and at times unwieldy. However, its subtle, matter-of-fact brilliance becomes endearing by the second act. Rabe's characterizations intrigue...Kudos goes to the acting ensemble who effect this individuality with rigor and graciousness...May not be everyone's cup of tea. But I enjoyed how Elliott and the actors approached the characterizations and the idea of reality as a fluid, unsteady state." Full Review

90
BlogCritics.org

"Epic, impassioned study of the mental gymnastics...Despite its lack of a central plot, the NY premiere production captivates with sustained force, fully realized characters, and a cornucopia of pathos and humor...However beautifully scripted and acted are the good doctor’s work-life struggles, the play’s emotional core lies with his patients. A stellar cast spans the cycle of life from childhood to old age...A long play that doesn’t feel long." Full Review

30
Broadway Blog

"Scheduled to run for six weeks. Coincidentally, six weeks is approximately the length of time you’ll feel like you’ve been trapped in your seat once the lights dim...Could someone please find a good editor for Mr. Rabe?...One ultimately wishes for fully realized humanity...For all of the poignancy in his language, there exists a void of relatability and connectedness in the material and towards these disparate characters. The result feels clinical and unemotional." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

89
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You can sit still either on stage or in the audience for 3hrs, want to see an ensemble cast of actors you've seen in movies and TV rock live

Don't see it if want to think about mental illness and how the world is effected by it

Also run b4 it closes this week

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Very long

See it if you enjoy dramas and are a fan of any of these amazing actors. For a really special experience, get one of the seats on stage!

Don't see it if you can't sit through a 3 hour drama. Are not interested in seeing a play about mental health issues

Also I had a seat on stage for this production and it was truly a once in a... Read more Read less

77
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you like an unusual setting for an unusual drama. Two therapists interview patients and sometimes themselves and their ghosts.

Don't see it if you like a traditional drama or setting or do not like conversations between therapists and patients. This is a three hour show.

Also I sat on the stage where the actors were seated. It was a fascinating ... Read more Read less

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You like good drama with a modern subject and seasoned veterans.

Don't see it if If you don’t like plays about mental illness.

72
Lengthy slow paced show, Realistic portrayal of mental illnesses, Stellar individual performances

See it if Psychiatrist faces Sisyfusian challenge. Only Otto the hamster has a happy ending as society refuses to fund treatment.

Don't see it if You don’t have the patience for a show that comes together slowly.

70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Slow

See it if Want to see great familiar actors up close

Don't see it if Can’t sit for almost 3 hours

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you want to see a play that shows doctor-patient sessions in a clinic that deals with the System to get proper medical treatment for all.

Don't see it if you don't want to see numerous doctor-patient dialog without getting too deep into the understanding of the characters

71
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Plays about disfuntional people seeking Help.

Don't see it if Want an uplifting experience

70
Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if You are into the issue of mental health and depression. The acting is top notch, but the show is too long. Try to get seated on stage.

Don't see it if You are not interested in mental health and depression. Way too long.

82
Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you like talky shows, shrink related issues, nature/ nurture questions, are fan of the stellar cast. Pancholy (30 Rock) standout.

Don't see it if you can't deal with episodic exposition, suicide or a very long (3 hour) drama. Should be trimmed but please leave the comic relief.

71
Intense, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a masterful cast of veterans work their magic...

Don't see it if you don't like shows about people with mental illness...

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Banal, Confusing

See it if you enjoy good ensemble acting and interesting writing. Complicated characters fill the lives of two therapists.

Don't see it if you are contemplating therapy. Then again it may just be what you need.

55
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if "Otto" is a badly structured play creating semi-interesting characters with matching stories while getting crushed in the presentation.

Don't see it if With an unnecessary 3 hours running time, the play needs editing by cutting an hour and a few characters. The talented cast deserves better.

25
Ambitious, Indulgent, Banal, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if you are a fan of David Rabe’s plays.

Don't see it if sitting through a slow moving play with a running time of two hours and forty five with only one intermission isn’t your idea of a good time

Also Good for Otto has an interesting storyline and cast of unusual charact... Read more Read less

51
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Banal, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You enjoy seeing any of the actors on stage

Don't see it if You want a tight, well-written play that leaves a powerful impression.

84
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Incredible cast of top actors portraying real issues in interesting format. Funny, sad and very real.

Don't see it if You can't sit for 3 hours. Don't like much dialogue requiring close attention. You'[re not willing to watch through to end.

Also Sitting on stage creates an intimate riveting experience-not to be mis... Read more Read less

78
Poignant, Great acting, Quirky, Indulgent, Slow

See it if to enjoy deep, thoughtful performances by Harris & Madigan, poignant humor from FMA & MLB; to ponder distressed state of mental health care.

Don't see it if you need fast pace, rat-a-tat dialogue, eye-popping set design, light/cheerful fare & resolution. At 3 hrs, some vignettes tax your patience

75
Fairly good anyway

See it if Powerhouse all star cast. Lovable losers all. Harris a natural leader, especially with talented wife riding shotgun. Tailor made casting.

Don't see it if Excessively long with a poor second act. Play actually lost momentum for forty minutes before picking back up with Giles.

Also It's a big stew. You'll eventually like something if you keep eating. ... Read more Read less

55
Great acting, Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Goes nowhere

See it if You must see everything Rabe has written for the stage. Good ensemble but why have audience members on stage as part of the scenery?

Don't see it if you are looking for a straight forward play. This terrific cast is caught in a play that literally goes nowhere.

67
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if To see F. Murray Abraham's fine acting as well as Mark-Linn Baker's portrayal and the young actor portraying the gay young man.

Don't see it if If you want an evolving , imaginative plot with a real tale to tell

75
Rabe's therapists employ minstrelsy cure on a grab-bag of patients

See it if Top-flight actors portray too many characters in a play that would be better as a mini-series. Harris, Madigan and Abraham lead the pack

Don't see it if Too long and disjointed, though the plot approximates the welter of a mental health clinic. Maulik is heartbreaking as a maladjusted gay boy

Also The action sometimes devolves in early 20th century songs, like "Moonl... Read more Read less

39
Disappointing, Slow, Soporific, Interminable

See it if you want to see what would happen if Our Town, Spoon River Anthology & One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest had a dull, tedious, laborious child.

Don't see it if you want to see a play worthy of this all-star cast; you expect a satisfying play about the important topic of mental health in America.

Also Good For Otto, Bad For Audiences.

73
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Slow, Too long

See it if you enjoy good acting and a refreshing unpatronizing take on mental illness.

Don't see it if you can't sit for three hours. This play needs some serious editing.

74
Intense

See it if An assembly of well known actors bri g this dramatic show to life.

Don't see it if The subject of mental illness disturbed you and watching a play for three hours will put you over the top.

84
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in an intelligent, wonderfully performed play dealing mental illness and the health care system.

Don't see it if you're looking for something light and fluffy.


Cast & Creatives (22)