USP Stars Shine Bright at 2015 Awards Night

USP Stars Shine Bright at 2015 Awards Night

The local stars were shining at USP’s 2015 Awards Night last night at the Pella Opera House. USP President, Cyndi Atkins, opened and closed the program in which Carolyn Scharff was inducted into the USP Walk of Fame and honored for her many years of service to USP and local theatre. Fellow Walk of Fame member and USP founding member, Bev Graves, introduced Scharff. It was the second year in a row that Graves introduced the Walk of Fame honoree. Her husband, Don, was inducted last year.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Heather MacLennan Trio, which was a big hit with those who attended. After the ceremony the group enjoyed cheesecake provided by Wendy Vander Well. Her new creation, the Dutch Letter Cheesecake, was a big hit. The group danced and mingled late into the night. Cyndi Atkins reminded attendees of the great slate of USP shows planned through 2016 including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Dec 2015), Almost Maine (Spring 2016), Sabrina Fair (Summer 2016), and The Christmas Post (Dec 2016).

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Carolyn Scharff to Walk of Fame; Awards Night Oct 3rd

Carolyn Scharff played a leading role in USP's 2011 production of "A Tinkerman Christmas Eve." Scharff will be inducted into the USP Walk of Fame on October 3rd.

Carolyn Scharff played a leading role in USP’s 2011 production of “A Tinkerman Christmas Eve.” Scharff will be inducted into the USP Walk of Fame on October 3rd.

On Saturday evening of October 3rd USP will hold our annual Award’s Night at the Pella Opera House. This is the eighth straight year we have gathered for the event in which we celebrate the previous year’s productions and induct one of our members into the USP Walk of Fame.

This year we honor Carolyn Scharff who is one of USP’s founding members and has been involved in UPS for over a quarter century. Scharff’s first credited roles were as a costume seamstress in the iconic 1989 production of “Polky Dot and the Christmas Wish.” Since that time, Scharff has been active in USP both on stage and off. She co-directed the 1991 production of “The Murder Room.” Carolyn has a reputation among USP members for her ability to find props and has been credited for her work with props in at least seven different productions. She co-starred in the 2011 holiday musical “A Tinkerman Christmas Eve” and will be familiar to recent audience members for her role as the elderly matchmaker Yente in this past summer’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Along with the honoring Scharff, USP plans to unveil memorial plaques for four key members who have passed on in recent years: Mike Atkins, Dottie McGee, Sherman Van Zee and Tom Waechter. Incoming USP President, Cyndi Atkins, will open the evening and outgoing President Tom Vander Well will once again act as Master of Ceremonies.

The Award’s Night festivities are open to the public. USP welcomes all to join in the social gathering that will include heavy appetizers and a cash bar. A highlight of the evening is always the dessert table with cheesecakes provided by Wendy Vander Well. Entertainment for the evening will be the Heather MacLennan Trio from Des Moines. MacClennan is an award-winning jazz vocalist and the trio is a staple of Des Moines venues such as Chuck’s Restaurant and Sam and Gabe’s.

Cost for the evening is $25 for ages 16 and over and $15 for ages under 16. Tickets may be purchased by clicking HERE. DEADLINE is September 29th in order to get our numbers in for food.

USP Announces Cast for “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Union Street Players is excited to announce Director Deb Linn’s cast for USP’s production of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Performances will be November 29 & 30 and December 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6, 2015.

Aslan Lonnie Appleby
The White Witch Jana De Zwarte
Mrs. Beaver Denise Gregory
Mr. Beaver Terry Faidley
Peter Tom Palmer
Susan Emily Carlo
Edmund Will Rasmussen
Lucy Elyse Parisee
The White Stag Mark Schaefer
Mr. Tumnus Karl Deakyne
Ms.  Unicorn Rachel Faidley
The Centaur Jesse Nieboer
Ms. Fenris Ulf Analu Reigstad
The Dwarf Conner Gauley
Father Christmas Spence Vermeer
The Elf / Faerie Devin McCain
Queen’s Army-Head Mark Schaefer
Queen’s Army Grayson Parisee
Queen’s Army Elliot Heartsill
Queen’s Army Maggie Anne Landon
Queen’s Army Mandolin Holmes
Queen’s Army Hannah Cutler
Queen’s Army Nathan Boldt
Queen’s Army Braden Rowe
Woodland Creature Briana Klein
Woodland Creature Kathryn Andringa
Woodland Creature Danielle Heartsill
Woodland Creature-The Fox Isaac Piersma
Woodland Creature-Chipmunk Colin Henry
Woodland Creature- The Owl Avary Grace Schumann
The Wood Nymphs-1 Lilly Teeple
The Wood Nymphs-2 Nora Rasmussen
The Wood Nymphs -3 Josephine McDonald
The Wood Nymphs-4 Dora Roorda
The Housekeeper Maggie Anne Landon

USP’s production of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is sponsored by

The Pella Community Center



Big Turnout for USP Annual Potluck Picnic; New Leadership Selected

2015-2015 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte

2015-2016 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte

Union Street Players gathered at West Market Park on Monday evening, August 10, for the annual membership meeting and potluck picnic. This has been an annual event the past few years and this year’s crowd was bigger than ever with over 50 people in attendance. Under the canopy of the north shelter, after everyone had enjoyed the feast, the annual meeting was held.


Carolyn Scharff (seated on left) played Yente in this summer’s “Fiddler on the Roof.” She will be honored as this year’s inductee in the USP Walk of Fame.

During the meeting, the USP Board of Directors announced that this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame will be founding USP member, Carolyn Scharff. Scharff has served USP faithfully on and off stage over the years. She will be inducted at USP’s annual Award’s night held at the Pella Opera House on October 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

Outgoing President, Tom Vander Well, presided over the meeting and gave his annual report to the membership. A few highlights from his report include:

  • USP had 39 members.
  • YTD USP is at nearly a $13,000 in the black. As a non-profit USP is not in business to make money, but wise fiscal management and profitable productions allow us to reinvest in our facilities, improve our productions, and provide opportunities that further our mission.
  • USP received a record $14,173 in patron support.
  • USP produced 3 great main stage shows:
    • Christmas Carol
      • Attended: 991
      • Profited $2642
    • Anne of Green Gables
      • Attended: 529
      • Profited $1426
    • Fiddler on the Roof
      • Attended: 1517
      • Profit: $6343
  • USP continued our award-winning tradition:
    • Lonnie Appleby won ICTA award for Outstanding Lead Actor (Ebenezer Scrooge/Christmas Carol)
    • USP had several finalists in ICTA’s annual awards:
      • From Ham Buns and Potato Salad (April 2014) Cyndi Atkins as Lola Van Dam – Supporting Actress, Mat Kelly and Anne McCullough Kelly – Scenic Design, Arvin Van Zante – Lighting Design
      • From A Christmas Carol (December 2014) Lonnie Appleby as Ebenezer Scrooge – Lead Actor, Jana De Zwarte (Mrs Dilber), Denise Gregory (Charwoman), Jim Palmer (Old Joe), Spencer Ver Meer (Undertaker) – Ensemble
      • From Anne of Green Gables (Feb/Mar 2015) Pati Van Zante – Costumes
  • USP welcomed Don Graves into the USP Walk of Fame in October of 2014.
  • USP added new audio equipment (gift from Pella Shakespeare) and new LED lighting instruments.
  • The Costume Shop led by Pati Van Zante and the Costume Shop Committee updated flooring, cleaned and organized, set new rules for school rentals, and continued to provide costumes for area productions.
  • Thanks to the hard work of Vice-President, Deb Linn, we made $5100 in advertising income and covered all of our program costs.
  • For the first time we welcomed a sponsor other than the Pella Community Center, Hopkins Roofing who sponsored Fiddler on the Roof.
  • Once gain, thanks to Brystal Hopkins and Suzi Jones, USP Drama Camp was a bigger success than ever with more kids than ever. Offering classes two sessions of classes for over 120 campers.

Vander Well mentioned that this will be the last time for him to present the President’s Report after a decade of service. He is stepping down from the Board along with three other long-time Board members: Wendy Vander Well (Treasurer), Anne McCullough Kelly (Secretary), and Mat Kelly (At-Large Member). Elections were held for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and new Board members were elected by the membership:

Cyndi Atkins, President
Deb Linn, Vice President
Kim Beyer, Secretary
Denise Gregory, Treasurer
Jana De Zwarte, At Large
Cody Kooi, At Large
Mark Schaefer, At Large

While the composition of the Board has changed, USP will continue to benefit from solid, veteran leadership. Deb Linn, Mark Schaefer, and Cody Kooi are continuing in their positions. Cyndi Atkins, Denise Gregory, and Jana De Zwarte have served on the Board in prior years. Kim Beyer is the only new officer who has never served on the Board before.

New Board members will begin their tenures on September 1. USP’s next meeting is Monday, September 14th at 7:00 in the Pella Community Center. Everyone is welcome at USP’s monthly meetings, though you must be a member to vote. Annual membership in the organization is $10 for adults and $5 for junior members.

Mozeltov! USPs “Fiddler on the Roof” a Success!

Fiddler Men

photo: Jim Palmer

Union Street Players’ production of Fiddler on the Roof closed its seven show run this past Sunday. It’s always a good sign when the final show has the biggest attendance. It means that we’ve gotten good “word of mouth” and people wanted to make sure they saw it. So it was with this production of Fiddler which boasted significantly larger crowds in the second weekend of the run:

Jul 24-26

Fri: 181
Sat: 195
Sun: 188

Jul 30 – Aug 2

Thu: 220
Fri: 244
Sat: 236
Sun: 253

Total: 1517

Up Next for USP: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe will be our holiday show directed by Deb Linn. Click here for show and audition information.