After a successful run in Los Angeles earlier this year, The Pee-wee Herman Show — Paul Reuben’s re-vamped re-visit of the 1981 stage show that launched his beloved character Pee-wee into the pop-culture firmament — is heading to the Great White Way. The one-act production will play a six-week engagement at the Stephen Sondheim theater, starting in previews Oct. 26, officially opening Nov. 11, and running through Dec. 5. (Tickets go on sale June 1 via Telecharge.com, and will run from $65 to $120.)
When I saw The Pee-wee Herman Show at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. in January, I thought it was simply uncanny how quickly that sense of childhood joy I remembered from watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse on TV as a kid came rushing back the moment Reubens stepped on stage in his tight grey suit and bright red bow-tie. The stage design was a perfect recreation of the TV show’s set, from the jagged front door upholstered in ruby vinyl to the oversized puppets Chairry, Mr. Window, Magic Screen, and Conky the beat-box robot. And seeing Jambi the genie, still played by John Paragon, say “mekalekahi meka hiney ho” was a real thrill. As the show moved on, though, I began to feel like day-glo nostalgia was all Reubens had to offer — the show stayed surprisingly close to the 1981 original stage production. Here’s hoping Pee-wee’s big Broadway adventure allows Reubens to spread his creative wings and take the antic scamp to brand new creative heights.
Are you jazzed for the return of Pee-wee, Popwatchers?