I don’t get out much. It’s true, really. I’m a major homebody. I love the comfort of my living room, my big cushiony couches (yes, plural!), a cup of tea, my husband Ross next to me, a good TV show on in front of us, or a book in each of our hands. That’s heaven to me. So when I was invited to the Carnegie of Homestead to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood in their two-man, fully improvised, traveling show, I admit that I hesitated. “I’ll have to go out…in public,” I said to my husband. “I mean, I’ll have to, like, put on proper attire and leave the couch.” We both laughed, because we know how much we love being at home. But the invitation, from a dear friend, was so kind and so once-in-a-lifetime, that we knew we had to leave our comfort zone and venture out…to Homestead.
And boy are we glad we did!
I’d never been to the Carnegie of Homestead. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh (on and off) for almost twenty years, and I’d never made the short trip across the Homestead Grays Bridge to one of the most beautiful, historic, and enchanting places in our city. (My couches are seriously comfortable.) And when we turned onto E. 10th Avenue and saw it–this giant mansion-esque building on a hill–our jaws dropped. This was in our city? We couldn’t wait to park the car and get inside.
The energy inside the Carnegie of Homestead was palpable. People from all backgrounds buzzing about, taking photos, saying how they couldn’t wait to see Colin and Brad, how they’d watched Whose Line Is It Anyway? for years and loved it. My husband and I were among them. And the architecture! Oh, the architecture! When we made our way into the Music Hall for the main event, we couldn’t help but throw our heads back and gaze at everything above and around us. We lucked out and sat next to a wonderfully kind gentleman who was a regular volunteer at the Carnegie of Homestead, and he told us stories about the building. The seats? They’re the originals that Carnegie had installed. The lights? Also the originals. The chandelier? Hoisted up with ropes. The stage? Yes, Carnegie himself stood in that exact spot and delivered a speech from it. We were literally sitting in the middle of history.
And the show! Oh, the show! I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! We had amazing seats–dead center about 12 rows from the stage. And there before us were two of the greatest improv comedians of all time. Right there in Homestead! The energy and camaraderie from the audience (we Pittsburghers are a tight-knit bunch) and the talent on stage came together and created an absolutely fantastic evening that we won’t soon forget. Colin and Brad even managed to played a game where Brad managed to guess the town of Zelienople! Zelienople! It’s not national vernacular, so you can imagine the audience’s excitement! It was brilliance, I tell you. And definitely–absolutely, positively, definitely–worth leaving our couches for.
Needless to say, you just might see me and my husband in Homestead again soon.
Laura E. Donaldson lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband Ross and works in the Department of History at Duquesne University as the administrative assistant. She holds a Master’s degree in Literature with an emphasis on Restoration drama and actresses. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI Southwestern PA. She is also the founder of The Secret Agent L Project, an international kindness project with more than 2,000 participants in 9 countries that has been featured on CNN, in Huffington Post and Reader’s Digest, and in other media outlets.