We love train travel, and we try to work it into our Achievements list every year if possible. We’ve covered the California Zephyr, the Coast Starlight, and a semi-disastrous trip on the Empire Builder last year (which subsequently never got documented). Following the Empire Builder situation last year (which involved a delayed train & a missed train & a very long, snowy drive from Chicago to Pittsburgh), we found ourselves with a credit for a train trip and no immediate plans to use it.
And then, in the fall, we found out some good news:
John Cameron Mitchell would be reprising his role as Hedwig in Hedwig & the Angry Inch on Broadway.
Pittsburgh’s little Amtrak station doesn’t connect to a whole lot of cities, but one of the regular daily routes out of the ‘Burgh is on the Pennsylvanian, which goes from Pittsburgh to New York.
Decision = made.
Pro-tip: upgrade to Business Class if you can. The seats are a little bigger, but you also get unlimited free non-alcoholic beverages from the cafe car all day, and generally you’ve got a little more space (and quiet) to yourself.
Most of the stops are very brief, but there are two where you can get out and wander around in the stations, Harrisburg & Philadelphia. (Another pro-tip: if you’re not a fan of the train bathrooms, plan your pit stop for Harrisburg so you can run into the station and use a real bathroom!)
I get a little nervous running out into the station in Philly, but I always try to pop into the station in Harrisburg. It’s a really pretty little building, and you get this terrific view of the train on your way out!
The trip from Pittsburgh to New York takes about 9 hours and lands you in Penn Station. When you come up out of the station, you’re right in the midst of things in New York, and you’ve got plenty of time to grab dinner and some drinks before your show!
Oh, and how was the show? AMAZING. Seriously, you’ve got just under a month left to catch this man as Hedwig, and you will be cheating yourself if you don’t do it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see Hedwig live 11 times (9 times with Anthony Rapp, and once last summer with Neil Patrick Harris), and I can say with certainty that this was the best. John Cameron Mitchell is the absolute best, and it was worth every single hour we spent in transit getting up there to see the show!