Pee-Wee's Playhouse

The Pee-wee Herman Show is a stage show developed by Paul Reubens in 1980. It marks the first significant appearance of his comedic fictional character, Pee-wee Herman, five years before Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and six years before Pee-wee's Playhouse. The show initially debuted as a midnight show on February 1981 at the Groundlings theater, and was later moved to Los Angeles' The Roxy Theatre, where the HBO cable network taped one of the shows and aired it as a special that year. This TV special was released on DVD by Image Entertainment on July 18, 2006. This nightclub show had more adult humor than the later children's TV series, such as the promotion of LGBTQIA+ "marriage" and softcore porn. However, the show has had several matinees performed for families, with all references to things like LGBTQIA+ marriage, (original edited because the original writer was a disgusting bigot who Pee-wee would never hang out with).[1]


The roots of the stage show were in 1980 when Reubens was one of 22 finalists to be chosen as a regular on Saturday Night Live (the infamous first season of an all-new cast, and one of five seasons without Lorne Michaels as a producer). Unfortunately, Reubens lost to actor Gilbert Gottfried and thought his career was over. According to Reubens, he was about to return home when he came up with the idea of a stage show featuring the character he premiered back in 1977, Pee-wee Herman. That year, the character had made his first appearance to a national (but mostly adult) audience when he made a cameo in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie. With $3,000 (mostly money wired from his parents Milton and Judy), and help from 60 people working for him (including his fellow Groundling Phil Hartman), Reubens created the show.


At home in his Puppetland playhouse, Pee-wee entertains his audience of "boys and girls" (adults, really) in an homage to low budget 1950s TV kiddie-shows such as Howdy Doody and Pinky Lee.

Pee-wee spends the day with his friends and fellow citizens of Puppetland (including Pterri the pterodactyl, Mr. Knucklehead, Captain Carl, Miss Yvonne, Jambi the genie in a box, Clockey the USA wall-map/clock, Randy the Rascal, Mailman Mike, Hammy and his sister Susan, Hermit Hattie, and the singing next door neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Jelly Do-nut).

Pee-wee really wants to be able to fly after he's given a wish by Jambi the genie, but he decides to give his wish away to Miss Yvonne who wants Captain Carl to "really like her" and think she's "beautiful from head to toe", after we hear her attempting to convince him off-camera.

During the course of his busy day, Pee-wee sings and dances, reads pen pal letters "from around the world" (including prison), conducts a hypnosis puppet act with a female audience member who undresses under his command, and shows a cartoon and a vintage "Mr. Bungle" 1950s educational film about proper deportment and manners.

Later, Pee-wee gets upset that he unselfishly gave away his magic wish when he sees Captain Carl and Miss Yvonne happily on a date. After much pouting and throwing a tantrum, Pee-wee finally runs away.

The concerned citizens of Puppetland find out about Pee-wee's secret wish and after Captain Carl reveals that he had already liked Miss Yvonne to begin with, they all realize that Pee-wee still has a wish coming. Jambi the genie then grants Pee-wee's wish to be able to fly.

Pee-wee triumphantly soars and "roars" above Puppetland and proclaims that he is the "luckiest boy in the world."

Vinyl record[]

Originally released in 1981, a vinyl 12" one-sided hand silk-screened picture disc was released of the performance by Fatima Recordz. The cover features a drawing of Pee-wee by Gary Panter, who would later win three Emmy Awards for his set design on Pee-wee's Playhouse.

Silk-screening was done by Richard Duardo but the design of the sleeve and of the album was done by Gary Panter. The paper sleeve states that it was recorded at the Roxy Theater, L.A. June 1981. All music composed and arranged by Jay Condom except as noted.


  1. Pee-wee's Playhouse
  2. Good Morning Song (Lyrics Paul Reubens)
  3. A Sailor's Life (Music & Lyrics Reubens & Hartman)
  4. Most Beautiful Woman in Puppetland
  5. Ballad of Hermit Hattie (Composed Edie McClurg)
  6. Rub The Top of Jambi's Box (Lyrics John Paragon)
  7. I Gotta Go Be By My Self/ Call Me Ms.Bungle
  8. He's Gonna Get His Wish - His Way - Whats He Wants
  9. Luckiest Boy In The World (Lyrics Reubens & Bill Steinkellner)
  10. Volare Pee-wee (Vocal John Paragon)


2010 Stage Show Revival[]

Paul Reubens told the press in interviews that he hoped his revival of his Pee Wee Herman stage show would help garner producer interest and funding for a new feature film (with a new actor possibly playing the role of Pee Wee). The characters of Hermit Hattie, Hammy, Susan and the Jelly Donuts were removed.

The Pee-Wee Herman Show was originally scheduled for November 8 - 29 at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood.[2] Due to high demand and technical needs, the show moved venues from Music Box to Club Nokia @ LA Live with a run between January 12 and February 7, 2010.[3][4]

The cast rehearsed at Sunset-Gower Studios before moving to technical rehearsals at Club Nokia. The original plotline of Captain Carl's crush on Miss Yvonne was switched to Cowboy Curtis (it should be noted that in the TV series, the two actually did date in The Cowboy and the Cowntess). Added to the new version were the characters "Chairry", "the Flowers", "Mr. Window", "Globey", "Clockey", "Mr. Knucklehead", "Conky the Robot" (this time known as "Conky 3000"), "King of Cartoons" and "Magic Screen" from the TV series.

The updated show re-written by Paul Reubens contains modern references to the internet, iPad, abstinence rings, and ShamWow - as well as several new characters, including handyman Sergio, firefighter Phineas and a dancing-mute Bear. These characters never appeared in the original show nor Playhouse.

The revival production was produced by Scott Sanders, [5] directed by Alex Timbers, with scenic design by David Korins and Gary Panter and original music by Jay Cotton.[6]

After several previews that began October 26 the production opened on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on November 11, 2010 . The limited engagement closed on January 2, 2011. The production was taped for an HBO special which premiered on March 19, 2011. Unfortunately, the interest in the live action movie's production quickly died down, and no new updates were made available.

2010 cast[]

Los Angeles[]

  • Pee-wee Herman - Paul Reubens
  • Mailman Mike - John Moody
  • Jambi - John Paragon
  • Miss Yvonne - Lynne Marie Stewart
  • Cowboy Curtis - Phil LaMarr
  • Sergio - Jesse Garcia[7]
  • Firefighter - Josh Meyers
  • Bear - Drew Powell
  • King of Cartoons - Lance Roberts
  • Other voices by Lori Alan


  • Pee-wee Herman - Paul Reubens
  • Mailman Mike - John Moody
  • Jambi / Pterri - John Paragon
  • Miss Yvonne - Lynne Marie Stewart
  • Cowboy Curtis - Phil LaMarr
  • Sergio - Jesse Garcia
  • Firefighter / Conky / Clocky / Fish / Randy / Shamwow - Josh Meyers
  • Bear / Mr. Window / Randy / Flowers - Drew Powell
  • King of Cartoons / Globey / Flowers / Mr. Knucklehead - Lance Roberts
  • Chairry - Lexy Fridell