Cool Hand Luke OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jason Woodruff
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    May 5, 2015
    Closing:
    May 31, 2015

    Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

    Synopsis: 

    Direct from a sold-out showing in Brooklyn, Drama Desk Award winner Godlight Theatre Company returns to 59E59 Theaters with the New York premiere adaptation of Donn Pearce's searing novel, "Cool Hand Luke," the hard-hitting story of a true original. Under the scorching Florida sun, Boss Godfrey watches the chain gang and keeps his eye on Cool Hand Luke - war hero, trouble-maker, and inspiration to his fellow inmates - just the kind of man the Boss needs to crush. For Luke's defiance and harrowing escapes bring the hope of freedom to his fellow inmates. This powerful, new adaptation for the stage by Emma Reeves is a raw, uncompromising tale of sticking it to "The Man."

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Cool Hand Luke

    In ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ the Ultimate Escape

    Alexis Soloski

    May 7, 2015: It’s not every man who can flee a chain gang while shackled in two sets of leg irons, but Luke Jackson isn’t just anyone. A hero, an outlaw and an iconoclast, immortalized by Paul Newman in the 1967 film based on the Donn Pearce novel, Luke has returned to us courtesy of Godlight Theater Company at 59E59 Theaters. A former war hero played by Lawrence Jansen, Luke spends a night sawing the heads off parking meters and gets slapped with a two-year stint on a Florida chain gang, presided over by a sadistic guard, Boss Godfrey (Nick Paglino). Troubled by his past but undaunted by the cruelty of his captors, Luke makes several breakout attempts until he finds the ultimate escape in death. You could see “Cool Hand Luke” as a companion piece to Godlight’s last show, “Deliverance,” another, somewhat sillier tale of men trying to evade senseless brutality. Stories of guys imperiled and sometimes emasculated seem to fascinate this company, which has also staged adaptations of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “A Clockwork Orange” — the syllabus for a course on midcentury masculinity and its discontents.

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