The temperatures dipped below freezing and the frigid winds were gusting. A stomach flu threatened to take down my whole family. But did that stop me from taking a friend’s extra ticket to see The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway? Of course not!
I had been debating about taking my 5-year-old daughter, but it was great to go see the show with another Pee-wee Herman fan. It was a surreal moment when Pee-wee walked in front of the red curtain. I mean, there was Pee-wee Herman! When the curtains parted to reveal the playhouse, it was as though my eyes had never truly seen color before that moment. It was electric.
Fans get their nostalgic trip satisfied with a stroll down familiar territory: Pee-wee’s greatest wish is to be able to fly, but he spends his one wish on Miss Yvonne so that Cowboy Curtis will like her. Remember? There’s new stuff, too, particularly a funny plot line where Pee-wee gets the playhouse wired for a new computer. Conky, Magic Screen, and Globey are threatened by this new technology and conspire against it. Who could possibly need more than the three of them. There’s also a new character, Bear, who Pee-wee outright makes fun of for being the new character. It’s all very meta and wonderful.
I love that Pee-wee is gracious enough to give some of the biggest laughs to the rest of the cast. Miss Yvonne, played wonderfully by the original Miss Yvonne, Lynne Marie Stewart, had me laughing the hardest with a bit right out of a late-night infomercial.
The big question I had was can you take kids to see it? I only saw one or two kids on the night I was there, but I do think that you can take kids. I’d add a few conditions to that, though. The show is filled with sexual innuendo, including a bit about Pee-wee wearing an abstinence ring. Just about all of the innuendo would fly right over the head of my 5-year-old. Once you start getting to the 7-10 range, if you’ve got a curious kid who wants things explained, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do. Older than that, kids will probably just find it funny. At it’s heart, the show is for grown-ups like me who want to feel like a kid again by seeing The Pee-wee Herman once again.
There are still tickets available, but hurry! The show closes January 2. If you can’t make it, fear not. HBO will be recording it to air as a comedy special in 2011.