Pee-Wee Herman on Broadway

Come pull up a chair to read Logan Fowler’s thoughts on The Pee-Wee Herman show…

Sitting four rows away from the stage, the lights went down, and I felt a serious whoosh of nostalgia rush over me; there he was, in his gray suit, red bow tie, and heavenly white shoes. Pee- Wee Herman returned.

Paul Reubens, many years after his arrest for public exposure in an adult theater, has returned to a character known very well by children and adults alike. Donning his familiar costume, Mr. Reubens brought Pee-Wee back to the stage in Los Angeles first, then to the city of New York, where this blogger got a chance to see a hero from his childhood do his thing.

Paul Reubens returns as Pee Wee Herman on Broadway for a limited run

Using the same basic plotline from his 1981 stage production, Reubens updated the cast of characters, as his playhouse gang from the CBS show Pee-Wee’s Playhouse comes to life. Among the familiar playhouse faces are Chairry, Randy, Magic Screen, Conky, Pterri, Mr. Window, Flowers, Fish and Globey. Some of the original cast from the 1981 production return, such as Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart, also from the TV series), Mailman Mike (John Moody) and Jambi (John Paragon, appearing on the TV series as well). Playhouse human characters Cowboy Curtis (Phil LaMarr) and the King of Cartoons (Lance Roberts) also show up, while new characters Firefighter (Josh Meyers), Sergio (Jesse Garcia) and Bear (Drew Powell) round out the show’s cast.

Gazing over the audience before the show started, it was surprising to know that the age range of people of the audience included young children to senior citizens. Reubens and co. played to a sold out crowd, meaning the Pee-Wee franchise (I guess that would be the proper word for it), as old as it is, still interests a good majority of people. You can’t beat a good trip down memory lane, I assume ( I couldn’t).

The Secret Word is Fun...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

And man, you have got to give it up for Paul Reubens. At nearly 60 years of age, his Pee-Wee persona has not missed a beat, and Reubens looks great for his age. If Pee-Wee is really a “man child,” then Reuben has definitely capitalized on the term, looking like he aged only slightly since his days on television.

The rest of the cast is solid, earning applause from the audience as they enter, and each one is given their time to shine. Plotwise, Miss Yvonne wants to be with Cowboy Curtis, which is the bare thread that holds the show together. Like the 1981 production before it, Miss Yvonne did pine for a character, but in the ’81 version, it was Captain Carl, played by the late, great, Phil Hartman. During the course of the show, Pee-Wee wishes he could learn how to fly, which Pterri frequently mocks him for not being able to do.

Subplots include Sergio wiring Pee-Wee’s house so he can use a computer, and the playhouse gang thinking that isn’t such a good idea to upgrade the playhouse to today’s technology. Throw in a “sham Wow” appearance, a few cartoons and public service announcements, and of course some very naughty, naughty jokes (that no doubt went over the kids’ heads) and you kind of get what the Pee-Wee Show is all about.

The cast...both living and imaginary of Pee-Wee's new show

Even knowing that after all I had seen the 1981 version of the show and really the outline of the show wasn’t totally new, I can say I supremely enjoyed my trip to the playhouse. As a child, Pee-Wee and his gang were the most imaginative thing I saw on television, and in a time where creativity, especially in the entertainment medium, is lacking, Paul Reubens brings us back to a time where laughter and imagination are core parts of childhood AND adulthood

The secret word of the day was fun (AHHHHHHHHHHH!) for this 90 minute presentation. What a proper term to describe this show. The Pee-Wee Herman show was entertaining and engaging, and I had a lot of fun (AHHHHHHHHH!). In fact, I loved the show.

“So why don’t you marry it?”

logan fowler in nyc pre-gaming before the show...

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