Pee-wee’s Opening Night

11 Nov

To salute Paul Reubens, Cast and Crew for our 2010 Pee-wee Herman Show opening on Broadway,  the following is a series of my diary entries on the Pee-wee Herman Show that opened at the Groundling Theater in the winter of 1981.

January 1st– Wrote a few pages for Clocky.  Nothing great but it’s good to get back to the typewriter. Twelve days till the first preview.  Paul has an upper respiratory infection.

January 5th–Time keeps on slipping, slipping…. At least I’m not sick. (Knock wood.)

January 6th– Write some lyrics for Luckiest Boy in the World. Worked out a few ideas for finale.

January 7th –DREAM– I am improvising with Paul at the Groundlings.  In the scene we have to parallel park a car in a size of space suggested by the audience.  Suggestion: the size of a pea.

January 8th –Cut “Pen Pal” sequence down to size.  Hope show is getting better and it’s not just a smoke screen for “good enough.”

January 11th– Think show has reached the point where the good parts outweigh the bad. Worked with Paul on solo bits all day. I’m sure everyone thinks we are crazy to think we can get this done in time but we’re determined.

January 13th– I’ve noticed it’s gotten so hectic that I sometimes forget what day it is.

January 14-17– Work on show until three-thirty in the morning every night.  The flying sequence will work after all!  Pee-wee’s solos?

January 18– Hostages almost freed in Iran.  America holds its breath.

January 19– We end up cutting the “alligator puppet” sequence.  Show length: 63 and 1/2 minutes.

January 22– Two days till first preview. We still haven’t had a run-through with all the things that are in the show.

January 24– Tonight’s the first preview. Plenty of holes but the material seems funny.  We’ll see what happens in front of an audience.

January 25– The first preview had lots of mistakes. The film cord came undone so the film had to be played later where the cartoon goes. Tons of missed lighting cues.  The flying sequence was death… but but but (sic) it’s a hit.! The first preview was packed, the second is almost sold out. The show needs more Pee-wee and we should get the “Mouse Pie in the Face” in but it is a certifiable smash. Opening night should take your breath away.


4 Responses to “Pee-wee’s Opening Night”

  1. Liza Cranis November 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM #

    What a fun read! Great seeing you and Cheri opening night. It was surreal, but fun, none the less. Will there be more posts?

    • Bill Steinkellner November 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM #

      It was great see you, too, Liza!
      And yes, yes – new posts ever M-F!

      • Jonathan Stark September 14, 2014 at 9:59 PM #

        Ah, the nights working until 3am. Now, that’s what time I get up to pee.


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