You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Pee-wee Herman Show

Fans of the art of Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman) will have a nostalgic field-day at the Broadway incarnation of "The Pee-wee Herman Show."

Pee-wee Herman - Paul Reubens Mailman Mike - John Moody Sergio - Jesse Garcia Cowboy Curtis - Phil LaMarr Miss Yvonne - Lynne Marie Stewart

Fans of the art of Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman) will have a nostalgic field-day at the Broadway incarnation of “The Pee-wee Herman Show.” Non-initiates will simply scratch their heads, look at their watches, and stare in wonder as the seemingly rational adults surrounding them scream out with joy when anyone says the secret word of the day, which — no surprise here — is “fun.” Pee-wee fans will have plenty of that at the newly monikered Stephen Sondheim Theater (formerly the Henry Miller); newcomers are unlikely to be converted, and might just as well stay home.

Nearly 30 years after Reubens debuted his alter ego on the L.A. stage in 1981, performer is approaching sixty but his creation seems to be timeless. Even so, Pee-wee can be hard to take. The youngster is something of a combination of Jerry Lewis, Eloise, and Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann, only with an aggressive edge and plenty of double entendres.

The new show, which preemed in LA earlier this year, is set in what seems to be a loving recreation of the set of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” the culty CBS Saturday morning skein that ran in the late 1980s. Reubens is accompanied by three members of his original TV cast (although Laurence Fishburne, was presumably too busy to recreate his role of Cowboy Curtis). Pee-wee faithful not only cheer the familiar characters, songs, and phrases; they offer loud and energetic entrance hands to the props.

Show has been slickly staged by director Alex Timbers, who after a long career in the downtown theater made a dynamic Broadway debut four weeks ago as author/director of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” Actors, voices, and video are well integrated; the last include a very funny mock-authentic film on lunchroom manners, featuring a humongous slice of chocolate cake, and a stop-motion clay animation cartoon from Nick Park of “Wallace and Gromit” fame. However, there are moments — like when, after almost an hour, Reubens spends two minutes blowing up and deflating a balloon — when the ninety-minute show seems like it will never end.

The preteen fans of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” are now card-carrying thirty- and forty-somethings — credit card-carrying, that is, and presumably happy to relive their youth with Pee-wee, Chairry the talking chair, Pterri the pterodactyl, and Miss Yvonne-the-most-beautiful-woman-in-Puppetland. Probably there are more than enough Pee-wee-ites to fill the Sondheim for this eight-week holiday booking; potential playgoers in doubt, though, are well-advised to follow their instincts.

The Pee-wee Herman Show

Sondheim; 1,055 seats; $122 top

Production: A Scott Sanders Prods., Adam S. Gordon, Allan S. Gordon, Elan V. McAllister, Roy Miller, Carol Fineman, Scott Zeilinger Prods./Radio Mouse Ent./ StylesFour Prods./Randy Donaldson/Tim Laczynski presentation of a play in one act by Paul Reubens and Bill Steinkellner. Additional material by John Paragon. Music by Jay Cotton. Created and conceived by Reubens. Directed by Alex Timbers.

Creative: Set, David Korins; costumes, Ann Closs-Farley; lighting, Jeff Croiter; sound, M.L. Dogg; puppetry, Basil Twist; projections, Jake Pinholster; makeup/hair/wig, Ve Neill; production stage manager, Lois L. Griffing. Opened Nov. 11. 2010, reviewed Nov. 6. Runs through Jan. 2, 2011. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.

Cast: Pee-wee Herman - Paul Reubens Mailman Mike - John Moody Sergio - Jesse Garcia Cowboy Curtis - Phil LaMarr Miss Yvonne - Lynne Marie StewartWith: Drew Powell, John Paragon, Lance Roberts, Josh Meyers.

More Legit

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Pat Gelbart Obit Dead

    Actress Pat Gelbart, Wife of 'MASH' Creator, Dies at 94

    Pat Gelbart, widow of late “MASH” creator Larry Gelbart, died surrounded by family at her home in Westwood, Calif. on Dec. 11. She was 94. Gelbart was born in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1928 as Marriam Patricia Murphy. When she met her husband, Gelbart was an actress, known for the 1947 musical “Good News,” in which [...]

  • To Kill a Mockingbird review

    Broadway Review: 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

    Against all odds, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher have succeeded in crafting a stage-worthy adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic American novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The ever-likable Daniels, whose casting was genius, gives a strong and searching performance as Atticus Finch, the small-town Southern lawyer who epitomizes the ideal human qualities of goodness, [...]

  • Isabelle HuppertIsabelle Huppert Life Achievement Award,

    Isabelle Huppert, Chris Noth to Appear on Stage in 'The Mother'

    Isabelle Huppert will appear opposite Chris Noth in the Atlantic Theater Company’s production of “The Mother.” It marks the U.S. premiere of the show. “The Mother” was written by French playwright Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton. Huppert, an icon of European film, was Oscar-nominated for “Elle” and appears in the upcoming Focus Features [...]

  • Could Anyone Follow ‘Springsteen on Broadway’?

    Could Anyone Follow 'Springsteen on Broadway'? Here Are Five Things They'd Need (Guest Column)

    After 235-odd shows, with grosses in excess of $100 million, a Special Tony Award and a hotly anticipated Netflix special debuting Sunday, “Springsteen on Broadway” is an unprecedented Broadway blockbuster. As with any success in entertainment, the rush to replicate The Boss’ one-man show reportedly is under way, with a consortium led by Live Nation, CAA [...]

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content