Jon and Pat Drive to Pittsburgh to See the London Globe Theatre Group production of Measure for Measure

(posted 12/20/2005) - The Wallaces enjoyed an evening in Pittsburgh, PA watching the last showing of the London Globe Theatre Group's production of "Measure for Measeure."

We left Sunday morning and drove the 480 miles from Chicago to Pittsburgh with only a stop for a mid-day meal and gas. After checking into the downtown Westin, and eating dinner, we were off to the new O'reilly Theatre in the midst of Pittsburgh's busy Cultural District -- a short walk from the hotel.

For those of you (like us) who haven't been keeping track, Pittsburgh has undergone a significant rebirth. It's downtown has undergone a makeover, and sports lots of new storefronts, business-centers, and the afore mentioned Cultural District.

Pittsburgh occupies a valley, near the confluence of three major rivers (the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio). Originally a coal and steel town, it has matured into a full-commercial and recreational hub. The surrounding hillsides are covered with homes, and well maintained interstates and feeders move traffic in-out of the city efficiently.

We highly recommend the downtown Westin (10th and Penn). After our 480 mile drive we parked the car in the hotel undergound garage and took the elevetor up two floors to the front desk. Once we checked-in it was up 19 more floors to our room. The Westin (as do many hotels now) provides free broadband internet services to meet the needs of data-junkies such as ourselves. Our large window overlooked the old AmTrac station, built from locally quarried stone and in full Christmas regalia.

We ate dinner at the hotel in a pub on the second floor, then walked the 4-blocks to the O'reilly theatre. We were able to go directly to our seats, since in the tradition of the old London GLobe Theatre, the actors dress and prepare on stage; chit-chatting with audience members and each other as they get ready.

We had a delightful time and the play was outstandingly presented. The O'reilly layout is similar to the London Globe Theatre (though smaller). The stage protrudes out into the center like a peninsula and allows the actors to be seen from a 270 degree perspective as they move about.

The players were given a standing ovation and they invited everyone to come to London, praising the Pittsburgh environs as highly hospitable.

The next morning we ate a lesiurely breakfast at the Westin, checked out and drove back to Glen Ellyn. Thank god for cruise-control, 'cause taking I-80 across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana doesn't require much in the way of speed-changes. The only time I braked was for the toll booths. Once we got into Illinois, our I-pass eliminated even stopping for those.

So, driving 1000 miles over two days isn't a problem if you've got a good play to attend, and a comfortable room to sleep in overnight. We look forward to more road trips. Special thanks to Matt Wallace who baby sat our Labrador for the two days we were gone!