HBO to Air The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway in March

By Adam Hetrick
and Andrew Gans
28 Feb 2011

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman
Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman
Photo by Jeff Vespa

The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway, which was taped live at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre New York in January, will debut March 19 on HBO.

The cable network filmed the 90-minute intermissionless production following its final Broadway performance Jan. 2. The HBO presentation will debut at 10 PM March 19.

Marty Callner directed the new HBO special and also directed the first 1981 HBO special "The Pee-wee Herman Show." The stage production was directed by Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).

The Pee-wee Herman Show, starring Paul Reubens as Pee-wee, officially opened at the newly rechristened Stephen Sondheim Theatre Nov. 11, 2010, following previews that began Oct. 26. Based on Reubens' 1981 cult classic stage production, The Pee-wee Herman Show, with new elements from the ground-breaking CBS show "Pee-wee's Playhouse," the production was written by Reubens and Bill Steinkellner, with additional material by John Paragon.



The Pee-wee Herman Show features music by Jay Cotton and the work of renowned puppetry artist Basil Twist.

The cast also includes Jesse Garcia (ALMA Award winner for Quinceañera) as Sergio the Handyman and Phil LaMarr as Cowboy Curtis with Josh Meyers, Drew Powell, Lexy Fridell, Lance Roberts and Caesar Samayoa.

Additional airings include March 21 (2 PM, 9:45 PM); March 24 (4:30 PM, 12:30 AM), March 27 (3:45 PM), March 30 (11 AM, 6:30 PM), April 2 (12 PM), April 4 (11 PM), April 8 (7:30 PM) and April 13 (8 PM).

The show, according to the producers, "reunites the one-and-only Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) with many of the original Playhouse cast of characters — including Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Pterri the Pterodactyl, Jambi the Genie, and Chairry — for an all new celebration of sophisticated silliness. An eye-popping 90 minutes of subversive humor and childlike wonder, The Pee-wee Herman Show charts a day in the life of our bow-tied hero, one of the most inspired comic personas of our time."

The design team includes David Korins (scenic design), Ann Closs-Farley (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), M.L. Dogg (sound design) and Jake Pinholster (projection design).

Paul Reubens created Pee-wee Herman while a member of the famed Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings. The Pee-wee Herman Show premiered at The Groundlings Theatre on Feb. 7, 1981, at midnight. It quickly moved to The Roxy on Sunset Strip where it ran for an unprecedented five months. The HBO broadcast of the show introduced Pee-wee to a national audience. Pee-wee was brought to the big screen in the 1985 comedy "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," which he co-wrote and which marked Tim Burton's directorial debut. Reubens went on to create, co-write and direct "Pee-wee's Playhouse" on CBS where the series earned 22 Emmy Awards during its five-year run. Reubens has been nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, winning twice. Pee-wee Herman was made an honorary Muppet, received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and was made an honorary Marine in conjunction with his work with Toys for Tots. Reubens has starred in a number of diverse film and TV shows, including "30 Rock," "Pushing Daisies," "Reno 911," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Murphy Brown," which earned him an Emmy nomination. His film credits include "Mystery Men," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Blow," Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime" and the David O. Russell film "Nailed." He currently can be heard as The Bat-mite on "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" and as the voice of Rex the Robot, the tour guide of George Lucas' Star Tours ride at Disneyland and Disneyworld.

Reubens and writer-director Judd Apatow have also announced that a new feature film based on Pee-wee is in development.