'The Pee-Wee Herman Show' is back! For reals!

The Pee-Wee Herman Show is back. Paul Reubens, who created Pee-Wee and played him on stage, TV and film between 1980 and 1991, is bringing his goofy-geeky man-child to the Los Angeles stage for a limited live-performance run at Club Nokia next month. “It’s going to be really, really good! I swear!” Reubens said, wearing Pee-Wee’s signature gray suit and bow tie, at a press conference today.

The full-scale stage performance, produced by Tony Award-winner Scott Sanders (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty) and directed by Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) will revive the character Reubens first brought to life on stage in a comedy act and then spun into HBO’s The Pee-wee Herman Show in 1980. That show gave rise to two feature films, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and Big Top Pee-Wee (1988), and the CBS children’s program, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986-1991).

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was in reruns in 1991, with no plans to shoot more episodes, when Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure. As the years have gone on, though, Reubens has tried to resurrect the character and the show. In fact, this production is the first step in his dream of a full-scale Pee-Wee comeback. “I want to make a big, giant, epic adventure movie based on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, ” Reubens said. “This [stage] show is what I did originally to have a career, so why not [do it again]?”

So last summer Reubens approached Sanders, his friend and producer, about mounting a Pee-Wee theatrical production. The result: A 4-week engagement that will reunite the Playhouse gang– e.g. Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, and puppets Chairry the chair, and Pterri the pterodactyl–in a new plot about Pee-Wee’s hope that he can fly. “It’s really going to be a feast for the eyes,” director Timbers said. The show, which will have a limited run in LA from January 12 through February 7, will feature flying puppets, original songs, and “many, many ticks and surprises,” he said. Plus, because it’s been almost 20 years since Pee-Wee went off the air, this show will be “a little less kiddy,” Timbers said. “If this were a movie, it’d be PG.”

Part comedy show, part play, this stage version of The Pee-Wee Herman Show will be very similar to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse in terms of design (the set is elaborate and colorful) and comedic tone, Reubens said. Social commentary is guaranteed. (Pee-Wee, for instance, is wearing an abstinence ring.) “It’s going to be dazzling,” Reubens said. “It’s 80ish minutes of puppets talking and flying, and doing all kinds of technical things. No one’s ever seen this before.” Fans can expect Miss Yvonne’s hair to be extra tall, a new bear character, and sets that look homemade. “I think its gonna blow people away,” Reubens said, and then added, “I hope I’m right. Ha ha!”

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  • Eve

    Yay! Too bad I don’t live anywhere remotely close LA… aw. But this is awesome! I’d love for there to be a new Pee Wee movie, I love Pee Wee! I’ve watch the Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special every December since I was… well… a lot younger.

  • stephanie

    Awesome!!! I wish lived in L.A…

  • Channing

    Will Laurence Fishburne return as Cowboy Curtis?

    • KS

      Fingers crossed…

    • Ben S

      No. He was interviewed on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (a UK talk show) recently and he said that other commitments mean he can’t make the shows, but that he’d happily be involved with any further Pee Wee projects.

    • orville

      There was a brief interview with him about this somewhere where he said that his son would be a better choice for Cowboy Curtis now.

  • tcrab

    if there is a Santa, they’ll take the show on the road

  • Yes

    Wasn’t Phil Hartman on the show? Still miss him.

    • Glitterbat

      I miss Phil all the time. That was a true tragedy, both his too-soon passing and the manner of it.

      Now if we could just get “The Fruiting” uploaded somewhere, I would be a happy camper…

      • Friggin Tommy Noble

        As much as I desperately wanna see this show, it won’t be the same without Hartman as Capt. Carl. (“Hold the shell up to your ear.” “YOUR EAR, NOT YOUR REAR!”)

      • Barcode32

        I think alot of people missed the big joke on the fruiting. In the intro they had fruit flying through running water. Like the old starburst commercials. And people doing things like in those commercials. The the fruit hits them lol

  • Gregoire

    Yes, what a wonderful idea! I hope he’s successful with that movie thing.

  • Nick T

    At first, I was like, “Oh No!” But after reading the article a bit, I’m all like “OH YEAH!” Thinking about it, I would love to see a Pee-Wee epic!

  • brandy

    Could this be televised? please?

  • exposedd

    A Pee Wee comeback ? YOU JUST SAID THE MAGIC WORD ! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

    • AA

      Okay, you just made my day.

  • scorpio9094

    Did you see him on Conan a couple weeks ago? His Thanksgiving skit was pretty funny.

  • brad

    got my tkts months ago and am happy they moved paul to a bigger venue!!

  • irvin

    why tell me why they would ever bring him back…
    ok I mean why tell me why they would ever bring him back only to LA?
    This is not cool, I grew up laughing at him or with him which ever way its supposed to be said, so I think everyone deserves to be able to check him out or the show.
    Do you think it might be on TV?

  • eric

    Hope this proves successful…

    I’ll certainly be pulling for Reubens.. :cough:…

  • Y

    My niece just turned 9. She and her friends decided that saying “For reals” was too insipid and juvenile about 6 months ago.

  • terry

    HBO needs to scoop this up for their network!!! Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is a classic!! My kids love Pee Wee’s playhouse even today! The dvd box set is definitely worth the money

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