Phil LaMarr (MAD TV, Futurama, Justice League, Samurai Jack) will star as Cowboy Curtis in the live stage revival of The Pee-wee Herman Show.
UPDATE: 1.11.2010, 11:45 PM (EST) — Voice actor Lori Alan (Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Metal Gear Solid video game series) stated in an interview published today on StewiesPlayground.com that she will be co-starring in the live show as well.
The show has a scheduled run for January 12th – February 7th, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA at Club Nokia @ LA Live, with Paul Reubens (of course) reprising the title role.
Reubens is certainly no stranger to animation voice acting. He voices the recurring character (aptly named) Reuben on CN’s Chowder, and guest-starred on Season 2 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold as the voice of Bat-Mite. He’s voiced characters for a number of other productions, including Tripping The Rift, Rugrats, Teacher’s Pet, and he was the voice of Lock in the stop-motion animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Pee-wee’s new stage show features “20 puppets and 15 actors” and nearly all of the show’s original cast.
UPDATE: 1.12.2010, 1:00 AM (EST) — Playbill.com reports:
Complete casting has been announced for “The Pee-wee Herman Show.”
In addition to Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, the cast will also feature Lynne Marie Stewart as Miss Yvonne; Phil LaMarr as Cowboy Curtis; Jesse Garcia as Sergio, a new character; Josh Meyers as Firefighter; John Moody as Mailman Mike; John Paragon as Jambi; Drew Powell as Bear; Lance Roberts as King of Cartoons; and Lori Alan and Maceo Oliver [performing] voices.
Pee-wee’s talking chair Chairry, Pterri the pterodactyl, Conky the robot, Magic Screen and Randy, will also be on stage…
The late Phil Hartman played Cap’n Carl, and Reubens told the LA Times in August 2009 that he decided to replace Hartman’s character with a brand-new one. “I didn’t want to be looking at someone else playing Phil’s part,” Ruebens says. And Phil LaMarr adds (via Twitter), “No one can replace Phil Hartman. So we’re not even going to try.”
Also absent is Lawrence Fishburne who originally played Cowboy Curtis, but was unavailable due to other committments. According to CNN, Reubens says he did get approval from Fishburne to hire another actor, and versatile character actor Phil LaMarr was an ideal choice to fill the role.
Fishburne did say, however, that he would be interested in reprising his role for a new Pee-wee movie, for which Ruebens says he has high hopes: “I have a movie script that’s based on my CBS TV series, and I thought [the stage show] would be a great way to get that made.”
Visit peewee.com for more show details and to order tickets.
Related interviews about the show:
– USA Today: Pee-wee Herman reopens Playhouse for L.A. stage show
– IFMagazine.com: Times Aren’t Changing on The Pee-wee Herman Stage Show
– Hitfix.com: Breakfast with Pee-wee Herman
– CNN.com: Pee-wee Herman makes a play for a comeback
More links added 1.19.2010, 3:25 AM (EST):
– MTV.com: Pee-wee Herman Reveals ‘Playhouse’ Secrets (includes video interview)
– Depauw.edu: Drew Powell in Cast of Pee-wee Herman Show (plays “Bear” and voices Randy, Mr. Window and the Flower).
– LatinoReview.com: Paul Ruebens Spills the Beans on His Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Movie
– Footage from the Club Nokia press conference (via Hollywood Headliner Magazine):
– Alan Duke interviews Pee-wee:
– Pee-wee guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live (Parts 1 and 2):
Update: 1.19.2010, 3:10 AM (EST) — TV Squad has a review of Pee-wee’s live show. Here’s an excerpt:
It was a heck of a lot of fun, which is saying a lot because I’ve never been a huge fan of Pee-wee or his classic CBS Saturday-morning show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. But most of the people who were there were die-hard fans, many of whom either caught Pee-wee’s original stage show in the mid ’80s, grew up watching his movies or Playhouse, or likely spent their Saturday mornings in college working on their first weekend high while watching his show.
For fans, it was pure comfort food. The stage was set up exactly like the set of Playhouse, complete with his complement of talking household items: Chairry, Magic Screen, Clocky, Pterri, Fish, etc. Jambi was also there to grant Pee-wee his wishes.
TV Squad’s article adds that some celebrities were sighted in the audience, including Neil Patrick Harris and “The Simpsons” producer Al Jean.
Flavorwire.com also has a slideshow of images from the show with accompanying review. Here’s an excerpt:
[T]his show is visually entrancing, fiercely idiosyncratic, and generally hilarious. Pee-wee has returned as wholly entertaining and willfully weird as ever.
This is a fan’s paradise…
The word of the day was “fun,” and so long as the crowd is there to yell and scream along, The Pee-wee Herman Stage Show will continue delivering just that.
– LA.com lists some of the many celebrities who have attended Pee-wee’s live show. The article also includes a cast photo with Phil LaMarr in costume as Cowboy Curtis and Lori Alan looking lovely in a powder blue party dress.
– The OCRegister reviews the show:
“The Pee-wee Herman Show”…is all about shtick, teasing and crazy asides that are far more fun than the story.
Perhaps the best thing about Pee-wee’s world is its unabashed celebration of eccentricity. Pee-wee reminds us of childhood and all of its peaks and valleys in an honest, unvarnished and utterly convincing way.
Phil LaMarr has the biggest boots to fill – Cowboy Curtis was originally played by Laurence Fishburne. LaMarr is a capable comic actor who manages to make us forget about his predecessor right away.
– Variety review:
Today’s secret word is … delight — especially for fans of Paul Reubens’ iconic man-child, Pee-wee Herman, who has reemerged in an adaptation of the stage show that started it all almost 30 years ago. It’s a trip down memory lane…
Phil LaMarr steps into the boots of Cowboy Curtis, the role originated by Laurence Fishburne. LaMarr is charming as the would-be beau of Miss Yvonne.
– LA Times review (including show photos!):
I wish “The Pee-wee Herman Show” was a little less reheated. Still, I’m glad [it’s] back. [A]s far as I’m concerned, this marks the restart of a beautiful old friendship.
Added: 1.05.2010 — Funny or Die Video: Pee-wee Gets an iPad, featuring the voice of Lori Alan as Chairry and Magic Screen, Josh Meyers as Clocky and Conky, and Lance Roberts as Globey.
Thanks to Takineko for the heads-up.
Original post continued…
In related news, LaMarr guest-starred on ABC’s Castle in a recurring role as Dr. Holloway for the Season 2 episodes “The Fifth Bullet” and “Vampire Weekend,” the latter of which is currently available on Hulu.com.
This gives me an opportunity to mention a related, older news I’ve been meaning to post via Frederator Blogs: the on-again/off-again Samurai Jack movie (for which it was previously announced that LaMarr would return to voice the title character)… well, it’s back “on-again” since Cartoon Network in 2007 granted Frederator Studios the rights to produce an animated film “as long as [they] agreed that Genndy [Tartakovsky] would be intimately involved.”
Frederator Studios founder Fred Seibert met with Genndy in September 2009 who was “thrilled” with the news that he would finally have a chance to “finish what he’d started, and reclaim a special set of characters he’d created.”
Seibert goes onto say that he will be co-producing the film with J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost) through Abrams’ company Bad Robot Productions at Paramount Pictures. Seibert says Abrams is a “huge Jack fan” and adds, “We knew that with JJ and his producing partner Bryan Burk we’d be in more than good hands and improve our chances tremendously of actually seeing the movie on the big screens.”
No major developments have been announced since. Through Google Search, I’ve found that auditions for the film were apparently being held in September 2008. As of November 2008, Seibert says the film is “still being written.” Also in the same month KungFuCinema.com reported that the film has a budget of $20 million and “will combine traditional 2D animation with stereoscopic 3D.”
Paramount has also registered the domain name TheSamuraiJackMovie.com.
I’ll continue to provide coverage of future developments as they are announced.