Broadway show brings Pee-wee back from exile

NEW YORK – The red bow tie is back. The white chunky loafers are, too. So is that too-tight gray suit.

The secret word today is “comeback.” Pee-wee has returned from exile.

Paul Reubens, who virtually abandoned the cult character he created nearly two decades ago following scandal, is making his Broadway debut with a reworking of the same theatrical show that started Pee-wee’s career in the late 1980s.

“I absolutely feel like I want to redeem myself to a degree and this seemed like a really pure way to do it,” said Reubens during an interview before a recent rehearsal.

Reubens, now 58, has donned his Pee-wee suit and popped up around New York to drum up attention for “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” which officially opens Nov. 11. Everywhere he goes, people say: “Welcome back!” and “Glad you’re back.”

Much of Pee-wee’s exile has been self-imposed since Reubens’ July 1991 arrest for indecent exposure in an adult-movie house in Sarasota, Fla. He was handed a small fine but the damage to the character was incalculable.

“When I was arrested in 1991, offers poured in,” he says. “All kinds. I mean, some of those offers weren’t things that I wanted to do.”

‘Sherlock’ actor to take on ‘Frankenstein’

LONDON – “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch will swap great detective for mad scientist next year when he stars in a theater adaptation of “Frankenstein” to be directed by Danny Boyle of “Slumdog Millionaire.”

London’s National Theatre said Friday that Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller will alternate the roles of scientist Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation.

The play is adapted from Mary Shelly’s Gothic horror story, and performances are due to begin in February.

Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes in the BBC adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories, currently airing on PBS.


No rapping, but NBA star will sing for kids


NEW YORK – Dwight Howard may be the NBA’s Superman, but when it comes to making music, he’ll admit to having at least one flaw.

“I’m not good at rapping, I’ll say that,” he says. “But singing, I can hold a note. I’m pretty good. If I had to sing in front of a big crowd, I don’t think I’d be that shy.”

There’s nothing timid about the Orlando Magic star’s musical CD debut. Last week, as the league opened the NBA season, he released “Shoot for the Stars,” a CD for kids that has the center singing songs by Michael Jackson, Harry Belafonte and the Black Eyed Peas and even rapping MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

releasing a CD, Howard follows in the footsteps of NBA stars like Ron Artest and the league’s original Superman, Shaquille O’Neal, who has a platinum disc to go along with his championship rings.

Howard says he didn’t intend to follow their path.

“I didn’t want to do the normal thing with everybody getting an album and all that stuff,” he says.

But he got more interested when he found out a portion of the funds from the CD, put out by Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop series, would go to the BETA center, a foundation dedicated to supporting families in Orlando, Fla.

That’s why most of the songs are either upbeat or uplifting, he said.

“All of the songs are very inspirational, just being together, being a family, things that bring people together,” he says. “It’s just inspiring kids to do more, be more and dream big.”