Riverdance Blog

Pittsburgh - the view from the top of Mt. Washington after our train ride on one of the oldest lines in America
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April 25, 2007on

Riverdance spends a week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Marcus Maloney, Dancer, Boyne Company

On arrival to Pittsburgh we all got a big city feel for the first time in a while and we were looking forward to being in one city for a full week. As the convergence point of three major rivers — the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio — Pittsburgh was once described as the only city in America with an entrance. Pittsburgh is often identified by its iron and steel industries, but the city has come a long way from its gritty industrial past. A new cultural aspect of the city is visible by the many museums, restaurants and abundant shopping throughout the city. Luckily both our hotel and theatre were located downtown so everything for the week was easily accessible.

Pittsburgh - the view from the top of Mt. Washington after our train ride on one of the oldest lines in America

Pittsburgh was the hometown of world-renowned artist, Andy Warhol.  A renovated warehouse, built in 1910, houses more than 500 pieces of the artist’s pop art. And so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit his museum, the largest in America dedicated solely to the works of one artist. From the moment you walk into this friendly open space, you can sense Warhol’s keen eye for composition and style as well as his love for people and portraiture. Large looming works by Warhol of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis and Elvis Presley look back at you in technicolor. We walked around this room for quite a time just trying to absorb the splendor of each face and expression. Warhol had an amazing ability to capture inner beauty whether the subject being captured was indeed beautiful, ugly or even reprehensible, such as his series on the electric chair. It was quite an enriching day at this museum.

Jackie Onassis Tribute at the Andy Warhol Muesum

Mr. Andy Warhol himself in a self portrait at the museum

On another outing we hopped on the Duqusne Incline for a trip to the top of Mount Washington, the highest point in Pittsburgh. The incline’s cars are the oldest mass-transit vehicles in daily operation in America. Originally built in the late 1800s, today these cars provide wonderful panoramic views of the city. The upper station includes an observation deck, a small museum gallery, and a gift shop.

Duquesne Incline Pittsburgh - The lower station that leads up to the highest point in Pittsburgh

We found a wonderful Tapas restaurant and bar in the cultural downtown of Pittsburgh, that some of us ate in almost every night of the week! It honestly was amazing food, some declaring even better than the authentic Irish food from previous weeks! By the end of the week the owner of the restaurant would reserve a big section for us each evening after the show. An intriguing man; he informed some of us of the history of Tapas which I found very fascinating. It dates back to the 13th century when stagecoach drivers used to stop off in taverns to take a break and have a glass of wine after an exhausting journey transporting merchandise. They would get so drunk and become such a menace on the highways that the government introduced a law forcing them to eat something while they drank. They would usually be given a piece of bread and ham placed on the top of their glass or jar. These Tapas (tops or lids) became a sensible and healthy custom that continues today. A captivating story I thought! A big thank to you to all the staff at Bossa Nova, Pittsburgh!

All the gang at the Tapas restaurant

Our weekend in Pittsburgh was an emotional one, as we said goodbyes to our many fellow cast members and good friends leaving us for the UK tour. But as we waved goodbye to the old faces we welcomed in some new ones and some fresh energy to the company. We all wish the very best of luck to everyone on the UK tour. Hopefully in the coming diaries I’ll have pictures of our new cast members here in the Boyne and some of their on-tour fables. Until next time from Chicago, Illinois………… Bye for now!

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