After a hiatus of close to 20 years, Paul Reubens announced Monday that he will be playing Pee-wee Herman again in a new stage show at the Music Box @ Fonda in Hollywood, with tickets going on sale today. Reubens spoke to The Los Angeles Times about putting the "little red bow tie" back on for a stage return.
"I've put part of him away for a long time, but part of him has always been here with me," the actor told the Times from his home in L.A. "I think it will be like riding a bike - which is not a bad analogy for Pee-wee, by the way."
This new version of "The Pee-wee Herman Show," still about a wish, includes Miss Yvonne, Mailman Mike, Cowboy Curtis and Jambi the Genie, as well as Pee-wee's talking chair, Chairry, Pterri the pterodactyl, robot Conky, Magic Screen, Randy, and many more.
Many of the show's original artists, both on stage and behind the scenes are involved in this re-imagined production. To read the full article click here.
The original "The Pee-wee Herman Show" debuted at The Groundlings Theatre in 1981, then moved to the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Strip for five sold out months. Taped as part of HBO's On Location series, the show catapulted Pee-wee into the national consciousness. It lead to Pee-wee's many appearances on "Late Night With David Letterman," followed by a 22 city tour that included Carnegie Hall. In 1985, Warner Brothers brought Pee-wee to the big screen with "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," Tim Burton's feature film debut. Co-written by Reubens, it featured Danny Elfman's first original film score.
The CBS television series "Pee-wee's Playhouse," premiered in 1986. During its five seasons, the show garnered 22 Emmy Awards. Pee-wee's second film, "Big Top Pee-wee" was released in 1988. While "The Pee-wee Herman Show", and "Pee-wee's Playhouse" were an homage to an earlier generation's television classics -- "Howdy Doody," "The Mickey Mouse Club," "Captain Kangaroo," "Kukla, Fran, and Ollie," and "The Shari Lewis Show" -- Pee-wee himself became one of the most original and beloved stars in all of television history and late-century American culture.
By the late 90s, even fashion was not immune to the style of Pee-wee as fashion designers like Christopher Bailey, Ennio Capasa, Miuccia Prada, Viktor & Rolf, and Thom Browne imitated the high armholes, short inseams, and tight cut suits that Pee-wee made as his trademark. In 2007, Nike created a version of the Nike SB sneaker loosely inspired by Pee-wee.
When Cartoon Network aired the series in 2006, 1.5 million viewers watched every night; the next year TV Guide named the "Playhouse" among the top 10 cult classics of all time. All of the episodes of "Pee-wee's Playhouse" have been issued on DVD (and iTunes) and are consistently best sellers. And as Pee-wee was influenced by the television classics that came before him, it is hard to imagine that "Blue's Clues" or "SpongeBob Square Pants" would be quite the same without him.
The New York Times wrote in 2007, "To a public that remembers him with intense affection, Pee-wee is indelible."
Joyce Millman, writing for salon.com about the DVD box-set launch, said that "Pee-wee is still a wonder to behold. ‘Pee-wee's Playhouse' is utterly timeless. When Pee-wee starts cutting up to the calliope bounce of the theme song, you know in an instant that innocence lost is often just misplaced and despite everything, you can go home again."
Robert Osborne, in the Hollywood Reporter, on the original production of "The Pee-wee Herman Show," "Anyone who deliberately avoids the pleasure of seeing ‘The Pee-wee Herman Show' would probably be willing to go through life without Christmas, cornbread, Häagen-Dazs and puppies."