Pittsburgh

I’m late getting these blog entries done because of the flurry of one-weekers that we are doing just before our two-week Christmas lay-off. With a one-weeker, once you have loaded the show in and have an understudy rehearsal on Thursday or Friday, you realize you are already at the weekend and about to load the show out again. That’s how Pittsburgh was, with the added bonus of Thanksgiving being thrown in the middle.

Driving to Pittsburgh

On the road

Gassing up the car

I drove to Pittsburgh from Detroit on Monday morning – an easy four hour drive. It was cloudy and cold, but no snow to speak of. And when I actually arrived in Pittsburgh, it was strangely warm – I was far too hot in my sweater and jacket. I checked in to the Omni William Penn – easily my favorite hotel on tour – and was able to get the room one floor up from the room I stayed in two years ago on “Spamalot” (which I loved). It was a small room, but really cozy and was on the corner, so had windows on two walls, which I really like (you know me and my need for light in my hotel rooms!). The Omni William Penn is an old historic hotel with a very grand, ornate lobby that was all decked out for the holidays. There is a Starbucks and a Brueggers Bagels on the premises, as well as a really great hotel pub called the Tap Room. The best part of my experience at the hotel, though, was the free morning beverage service! You leave a tag on your door at night saying what beverage you want delivered (coffee, hot chocolate, juice, etc) and what time, and then in the morning when you wake up, a tray is waiting for you outside your door! Its awesome. There are also small breakfast items you can add for a very small price. Love, love, love that part of staying at the Omni.

The Omni William Penn

The Omni William Penn

The Omni William Penn

At the Omni

So anyway, I checked into the hotel and once I was settled, I headed out for some lunch and a walk-around. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of downtown Pittsburgh. I have never had the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas, so I don’t want to write off the city as a whole (especially since a couple of my dear friends are from there), but as far as downtown goes, I’m not all that impressed. There’s a few good places to eat, but mostly its pretty run-down. There are some really cool old buildings though, I have to say. I took a few pics on my walk, but soon enough headed back to my favorite hotel, where I was content to hang for the evening (I even ordered room service dinner because I didn’t want to leave my room). I did venture out later in the night to the Tap Room to have some drinks with the crew, but otherwise, I was happy to hole up in my cozy room (which was pretty much the theme for the week).

Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh

The theater in Pittsburgh (the Benedum Center)  is very spacious, so the show fit with no issues at all. We had a little opening party after the opening night performance at a bar called Olive or Twist that was really nice. We went to a dive bar across the street afterward to finish out the night.

The Benedum Center

Seats

The front of the Benedum

The cast at sound check

The cast at sound check

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Most of the cast went over to one of the producer’s houses for a meal, while I opted to go with the crew to McCormick and Schmick’s for a Thanksgiving feast. We had a lot of fun, drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of food – and got back to the hotel in time to sleep it all off before the evening show 🙂 Well some of us slept it off before the evening show, anyway (ahem, Ken!).

The crew at Thanksgiving dinner

The rest of the week I literally spent in my room, or after the show at the Tap Room. What can I say? Sometimes you just have weeks like that on tour – and I’m okay with that!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Tallulah enjoying the hotel bed

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Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh was another busy week of rehearsals. We were readying Alexa Glover for her debut (she took over for Jenn Rias the beginning of this week in Sioux City), and BT (our associate director) was also in town to rehearse the principals, as there wasn’t really any time for them to rehearse with any of the creative team after getting Mike Nichols’ notes in Boston. Throw Thanksgiving into the mix, and there wasn’t really time to much else in Pittsburgh. 

The hotel I stayed at, the Omni William Penn, was also a big factor in me not venturing out much. My little corner room was so cozy, it was hard to leave it everyday. The hotel itself was a beautiful historic building, all decked out for the holidays. To top it all off, the Omni provides an awesome service to its Select Members (which you can sign up to be for free online) – you leave a tag on your door every night before bed which indicates which two complimentary beverages you want in the morning, and what time you want them. Then the next morning, at the allotted time, you get a knock on your door, and you open it to find a tray with a pot of hot chocolate and a glass of orange juice, or whatever it is you marked on the card. You can also add a very inexpensive breakfast to the order. It was great!!

The lobby of the Omni

The lobby of the Omni

The theater in Pittsburgh was huge – it felt so luxurious after being squeezed into the Colonial the week before. Most of the stagehands had worked on “Spamalot” when it was in town in 2006, so training everyone was a cinch. Unfortunately though, we had an automation malfunction on opening night causing our big castle unit to get jammed into its track. We had to stop the show for ten minutes and force the castle upstage – while Matt Allen, dressed in his frog costume for the Lady of the Lake number, entertained the crowd in front of the curtain.  We had to modify some staging during Act 1 because of the faulty castle, but otherwise all went well. The crew fixed the problem the next day and we were up and running.

Wednesday night, after notes with BT, Jenn Rias had a going away party at Tonic Bar and Grill. It was really fun – especially when a bachelorette party showed up with a list of things they had to accomplish at the bar – like giving a guy a massage, or being proposed to by a stranger. The guys in our cast and crew had fun obliging all their requests!

On Thursday, the company threw us a lovely meal at the hotel in a private dining room for Thanksgiving. We had a drink hour to start with mimosas and bloody marys, and then stuffed our faces full of delicious Thanksgiving goodies. A nap followed, and then a show that evening!

The company at Thanksgiving dinner at the Omni

The company at Thanksgiving dinner at the Omni

My Thanksgiving plate

My Thanksgiving plate

After the show, Angelina and Nigel hosted a second Thanksgiving dinner at their rental apartment. Ang had prepared all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, along with some italian dishes. Her meatballs were awesome! It was fun to have somewhere to hang out with everyone and celebrate the holiday.

Angelina, Nigel and Missy

Angelina, Nigel and Missy

Scott and Terry

Scott and Terry

Gurr and Suzanne

Gurr and Suzanne

Jenn making a face at Darryl

Jenn making a face at Darryl

Friday was Alexa’s put-in, and then Saturday and Sunday were our normal four show weekend. We bid Jenn farewell after the Sunday night performance. She will be missed!

Monday morning I awoke bright and early and began the long drive to Sioux City, Iowa. So long, Pittsburgh! More on that in the next post!

Giving Thanks

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Sending huge congratulations and tons of love to my best friend Michele and her husband, Jean, who welcomed their twins Georges and Henri into the world today! I was online all morning while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, waiting for word that the little ones had arrived, and the email finally came! I am so, so happy for you guys!!!

Now I am post-Spamily Thanksgiving meal and cocktails, watching football and thinking about a nap before heading into work for the show tonight.

Much love to you all. Happy Thanksgiving!