LOS ANGELES — For much of the ’80s and early ’90s, we loved him so much we would’ve married him. Now, Pee-wee Herman is launching a new stage show that marks his first performances in nearly 20 years, and he told us that it’s great to be back in the Playhouse.
“The secret word of today is F-U-N,” Pee-wee giggled in his signature high-pitched cackle when we spoke with him on Monday. “Fun!”
Without a doubt, the now-decades-old, bow-tied, white-shoed character will be bringing lots of fun (AAARRRRGGGHHH!) to L.A. audiences with the stage show. It is comedian Paul Reubens’ first true performances as Pee-wee Herman since he abandoned the character following some well-documented trouble in 1991, and a throwback to Pee-wee’s roots as an improv-heavy stage show.
“I’m going to be performing downtown live, here in Los Angeles at Club Nokia. The show opens January 12 and runs till the 14th of February,” he explained in character. “It’s incredible, it’s incredible, it’s incredible. The show is just — can I say — incredible?”
A live, multimedia extravaganza with Broadway-scale production values, sets, costumes, music and singing — as well as 11 actors, 19 puppets and 7 puppeteers — “The Pee-wee Herman Show” will return fans to the Playhouse where Pee-wee delighted fans every Saturday morning from 1986 to 1991. The energetic, adult-friendly kids’ show proved its timeliness recently with a late-night run on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” programming block.
“The basic plot of the show is Pee-wee Herman — played by myself — wishes that he could fly,” the world’s oldest little boy explained. “Which is kind of taken from real life. It’s a case of art imitating life.”
As for which of the many iconic characters from Pee-wee’s show will return, he mentioned Jambi, Conky, Magic Screen, Globey, Cowboy Curtis, Chairry, the King of Cartoons and the Flowers, before adding, “There’ll also be my new characters, Sergio and Ginger the Horse.”
Fans can also expect a new, updated Pee-wee, as the script for the new show has several references to pop-culture phenomena from the past few years. “We have a PayPal reference, talk about ShamWow and have some modern people’s songs,” he explained.
But the biggest improvement, Pee-wee added, might be his new ball of foil. “The foil ball is the biggest improvement, literally, in this show from the original show, because the foil ball is about [knee high] in the original show. And I’m not going to say how big it is now — I’d like people to come and see for themselves — but let’s just say it’s big,” he teased. “The aluminum-foil budget alone for this show was staggering!”