Nostalgia is alive and well on Broadway thanks to “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” which opened its Main Stem run November 11 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Based on the original stage show and late ’80s television show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” this limited engagement is scheduled to run through January 2, 2011.
Donning his signature suit and red bow tie, Paul Reubens takes on the title role of the eternally youthful Pee-wee Herman in this production co-penned by Bill Steinkellner, with additional material by John Paragon. The comedy is helmed by Alex Timbers, who also directs Broadway’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
During the play’s various segments, Pee-wee is joined on-stage by a wide cast of colorful characters. Reprising the roles they originated are Lynne Marie Stewart as Miss Yvonne, along with John Moody as Mailman Mike, and Paragon as Jambi the Genie. Meanwhile, a team of puppeteers, led by Basil Twist, give life to the well-beloved objects that fill Pee-wee’s world — most notably Chairry the chair and Pterri the pterodactyl.
While these characters and their surroundings will be familiar to Pee-wee devotees, the production does include some newcomers. Phil LaMarr fills the role of Cowboy Curtis, originated by Laurence Fishburne, and Jesse Garcia plays the new tech-savvy character, Sergio.
The 1,055 seat Stephen Sondheim Theatre hosted two weeks of previews beginning October 26, with the playhouse averaging between 70 and 80 percent audience capacity. Regular ticket prices range from $67 to $122; premium options are available from $177 up to $227. Gross ticket sales were $544,202 for the week ending November 7, according to the Broadway League.
Performances are scheduled Tuesday and Sunday at 7 p.m., as well as Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees can be seen on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Some date and time exceptions are in place due to the holidays.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre is located at 124 West 43rd Street in New York, NY. “The Pee-wee Herman Show” runs about 90 minutes without intermission. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “The Pee-wee Herman Show”
|Variety||Marilyn Stasio||“Pee-wee fans will have plenty of [fun]…newcomers are unlikely to be converted, and might just as well stay home.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“…nothing more and nothing less than a bubble bath of nostalgia…”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“‘Pee-wee’ may stretch an endearing premise beyond its limit, but it will likely make you smile along the way.”|
|TheaterMania||Brian Scott Lipton||“The show rises and falls upon its star, and Reubens delivers an outrageously over-the-top performance…”|
|Hollywood Reporter||David Rooney||“Three decades have done nothing to blunt the edges of Reubens’ inspired characterization of the ADHD poster boy, channeling both the joy and bratty capriciousness of childhood.”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“If you liked him then, you’ll like him now.”|