Kingsborough offers free sneak peek of live ‘Cool Hand Luke’

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On Stage At Kingsborough is playing its “get out of jail free” card!

The Manhattan Beach theater is offering locals a free sneak peek of its next play on Jan. 29, opening its doors for an early run-through of its upcoming production of “Cool Hand Luke.” The event will give residents a chance to see and discuss the show in its early stages, which will be as much of a boon for the actors as it will the audience, according to the play’s director.

“I really like having that very early dialogue with people seeing something that is in its very early stages of development — we won’t even be in rehearsal,” said Joe Tantalo, who lives in Park Slope and is also the founder of Godlight Theatre Company, which is conducting the preview.

The play, which will premiere at Kingsborough on March 28, is adapted from the cult-classic prison movie and includes the same themes. But to fully capture the atmosphere of the prison, Tantalo said the show will rely on symbolism to convey some of the more literal elements of the film — lest there be a failure to communicate.

“It is going to be empty, vapid space that we create with light and sound and some sort of scenic gesture,” he said. “Usually in our pieces, we have one central idea for the set and that might be, for ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ suspending a giant cage above the stage.”

The gospel music that is a staple in the film will also be swapped for sounds that capture the spirit of the prisoners — current ideas include having live percussion on stage, Tantalo said.

“Whether it is banging on pipes or chains or something like that, the ideas are pretty loose at the moment,” he said, adding that he is open to hearing the spectators’ suggestions.

The preview may be the first act for the audience, but Tantalo said he hopes everyone comes back to see the final show in March.

“It might be exciting for them to see something that is very raw and come back and see it as a finished product,” said Tantalo. “It is exciting to see how the work evolves and it is just as exciting for us to watch it evolve, too, because you never know where things are going to go.”

“Cool Hand Luke” at On Stage at Kingsborough [2001 Oriental Blvd. near Oxford Street in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5596,]. Jan. 29 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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