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The 80s have returned in full force, and if you’re unaware of this, pull out your Max Headroom glasses and fire up that old crimper, because ready or not, they’re back. And the ultimate proof of this is in the hot, upcoming special on HBO: The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway.

Pee Wee Herman on Broadway Pee Wee on stageThat’s right boys and girls, your favorite Saturday morning star is back with Chairry, Conky, Pterri and all his friends to rock the playhouse, and the secret word is “Broadway.”

Reviving the more adult-themed version of the show, which originated at the Groundlings and was filmed as an HBO special in 1981, Pee-Wee Herman (real name, Paul Reubens) is bringing back all of his insane antics for the bright lights of Broadway.

“Certain things, they just come back,” Reubens said. “If you wait ling enough, these suits come back and this tie comes back – I just waited long enough, and now, all the people seem to like it again, I guess.”

While the Pee-Wee Herman character faded out in the mid-90’s, after Reubens was arrested for masturbating in an adult theater in 1991, Reubens continued to surface in feature films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blow, and Mystery Men.Pee Wee Herman on Broadway Pee Wee and Chairy

But now that the wake of the CBS children’s show Pee-Wee’s Playhouse has subsided, Reubens is bringing Pee-Wee back to entertain the adult audience he delighted for years.

“The new show is really inspired 100 percent by the old show,” Reubens said. “I did the stage show originally at the Roxy Theatre, which is where we filmed it for Home Box Office years ago. And then, from there, I had a CBS television series that was greatly inspired by that stage production.”

Reubens said that while Chairry, Glovey, and all of the objects that end in “e,” may not have been part of the original stage production, he has rewritten the new version to include the nostalgic playhouse friends. Reubens also explained that the plot of Pee-Wee’s story will also be very familiar.

“It still revolves around – there’s a love story, and I have a wish to fly in the show – that’s pretty much the plot,” Reubens said. “The New York Times said it was thin on plot, and they were right, but plot’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”

Plot-thin or not, one has to remember the simple fact that Pee-Wee was a box-office sensation in a motion picture about a boy who lost his bicycle. Chew on that.Pee Wee Herman on Broadway Genie

Reubens did mention that some of his playhouse friends did not make it into the Broadway gig, but that this didn’t stop them from gracing the red-carpet on opening night.

“Laurence [Fishburn] came to the opening night, as you know, Laurence played Cowboy Curtis in the original production, [but he] wasn’t available because he’s got that ‘CSI show,’” Reubens said. “S. Epatha Merkerson who played Reba the Mail Lady of the CBS show came here – it’s been very, extremely star-studded here.”

The Pee-Wee Herman Show was revived on Broadway last November, following a brief engagement in Los Angeles, and has since closed it doors for performances. However, HBO filmed part of the run, giving second life to the stage production.

“I think it’s visually going to look like nothing that’s ever been shot before in terms of a live stage production,” Reubens said, referring to the large number of angles the crew was able to capture during the live performances. “I think it’s going to just be visually dazzling as well as, did I mention, funny.”

Pee Wee Herman on Broadway Pee Wee getting kissed by red haired girlFor those of you who are skeptical that the Pee-Wee revival is actually here, proof can be found in Judd Apatow (director, and producer of Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Get Him to the Greek), who has signed on to produce the next Pee-Wee film.

“He’s the current king of comedy in Hollywood and internationally, and he’s producing the next ‘Pee-wee’ movie,” Reubens said. “He’s just producing so far, and I don’t know who will direct it – I guess he’s just waiting to read the script.”

For those of you who are ready to get your Pee-Wee fix now, is currently up-and-running with video and news to keep you up to speed on what is going on in the Playhouse.

Meanwhile, stay tuned to see the HBO special that will entertain all of your 80’s fancies and delight an audience of  even the most hateful of skeptics.

The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway premieres March 19 on HBO. / Issue 118 - September 2018
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