When I first heard about the Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway, I was a bit skeptical on how this would play out. I mean, the show was a kid-favorite of mine and as much as I am one for moments of nostalgia…we are talking about Pee-Wee live and in-person. So um…yeah, scratch that initial thought train. Pee-Wee live and in person? How could I not pass up the opportunity…right?
From the first few minutes to the last few seconds, the show was entertaining and crowd participation was immediate…and mandatory. It was like growing up again screaming when one of Pee-Wee’s friends would mistakenly say the secret word. I mean, it was hard not to then, and it was hard not to while watching the show. You knew crowd participation was coming the minute the show started and we stood up alongside of Pee-Wee to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
I found the audience an interesting mix of perhaps 90% adults and 10% kids. And I might be a bit generous with representation of kids, but we had really good seats so I wasn’t about to scope out the rest of theatre to see if there were people who may not even know who Pee-Wee Herman is, let alone were not even born yet when the Pee-Wee was on TV. And although there were a few dirty jokes thrown into the dialogue here and there, I didn’t think the show to be too risqué for the little kiddies in the audience. That is unless your children have such enquiring minds and want to know why the adults found something particularly funny and they didn’t understand.
All in all, for 90 minutes of entertainment (no breaks in between), I found Paul Reubens easily come back to life as the childhood favorite character of Pee-Wee Herman. With familiar phrases such as “I know you are but what am I” and Jambi’s chant (you know I can’t spell it, can you?), it was easy to remember why the TV show was so enjoyable. It was also fun to see the original Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart) join him on stage. And if you were wondering, Chairy, Conky, Magic Screen, Pterri, Mailman Mike, Cowboy Curtis, Globie, and a few other familiar faces were there too.
If you’re ever up for a different yet familiar kind of Broadway show, I highly recommend you go see The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway.