LOS ANGELES — After 20 years in retirement – Pee-wee Herman is back.
Actor Paul Reubens is bringing back his beloved character in a stage show this coming November at the Music Box at The Fonda in Hollywood.
“I’ve put part of him away for a long time, but part of him has always been here with me,” the actor told the Los Angeles Times. “I think it will be like riding a bike — which is not a bad analogy for Pee-wee, by the way.”
Reubens confessed he has reservations about bringing back the iconic character after such a long absence.
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“I have some fear that he won’t be funny after all this time,” he continued. “I don’t want to ruin it.”
The stage show, titled “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” is based on the first version of the actor’s theatrical endeavor, which he launched at the Groundlings Theatre in LA in 1981.
The character grew in popularity and starred in a slew of projects including an HBO special, two feature films and the CBS Saturday morning series, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”
Popular “Playhouse” character Chairry and Pterri the pterodactyl, who were not in the original stage show, will be featured in the new version.
“It has a lot of new material and a lot of old material,” Reubens said. “I felt that doing this show so many years later and having the TV show in between — people are going to ask, ‘Where’s the talking chair?’ So I’ve added characters from the TV series to the show.”
But not every character from “Playhouse” will be on stage with Pee-wee. The late Phil Hartman, who played Captain Carl on the CBS series, will not be recreated for the current show.
“I didn’t want to be looking at someone else playing Phil’s part,” the actor said.
Reubens said he’s excited to be returning to the stage – no matter how long it’s been and how old his audience is now.
“I’ve never said how old Pee-wee is. People attach their own age to him. I never decided myself,” he added. “I’m glad people will be 20 to 30 feet away from me on stage. I’m trying to work out a system where people with bad vision sit in front. I think it will work.”
“The Pee-wee Herman Show” runs from November 19-29 at the Music Box at The Fonda in Hollywood. Tickets go on sale today.
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