USP Archive

Morning’s at Seven Auditions this Week!

Auditions for Union Street Players production of Morning’s at Seven will be held this Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 & 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Community Center. An additional audition will be held Wednesday, December 27th at 7:00 p.m. There are roles for 5 adult women and 4 adult men. No experience is necessary and everyone is welcome to audition. Performances will be February 22-25 and the show will be directed by Tom Vander Well, who directed Barefoot in the Park for USP in 2005.

Do you know someone who might want to audition? Please pass the word along!!


What is the play about?

Morning’s at Seven is a wonderful, gut-busting comedy about family
relationships and small town life. The four Gibbs sisters have lived
together in the same Midwest town their entire lives. In fact, Ida and
Cora are neighbors, and the entire play takes place on their back
porches and in their back yards.

Their spinster sister, Aaronetta, lives with Cora and her husband,
Thor. Everyone suspects that something illicit has been going on
between Aaronetta and Thor for years, and there’s plenty of family
scuttlebutt on the subject. Nevertheless, no one knows for sure.

Next door, Ida and her neurotic husband, Carl, live with their
equally odd adult son, Homer. The middle-aged Homer has never been able
to “cut the apron strings” and he has been dating Myrtle for 12 years
and engaged to her for 7, though no one has ever actually seen her. The
conversation “over the hedge” is filled with suspicion. Maybe the
phantom fiancé doesn’t even exist! Suddenly, Homer announces that he’s
bringing Myrtle home and the family is abuzz with whispers and
speculation regarding this strange turn of events.

The fourth sister, Esther, lives up on the hill with her educated
husband, David. The intellectual David looks down the hill, and his
nose, on the rest of Esther’s family. Esther’s had enough. She is ready
to leave David and move back in with her sisters, but David’s not going
to give up that easily!

Sisters. Husbands. Wives. Children. In-laws.
Morning’s at Seven
provides us with a side-splitting look in the mirror. USP is proud to
produce this humorous study of the family relationships, family gossip
and family secrets common to us all.

Perusal scripts are available at the Pella Library. If all scripts are checked out, you may contact director Tom Vander Well (620-9107) to arrange to pick up a copy.

What happens at an Audition?

Those who wish to audition simply fill out an audition form and have their picture taken. The director generally calls people into the auditorium to read different scenes from the play. People are often to asked certain scenes multiple times or called back in to read different scenes with different people. That’s about it.

What if I want (or don’t want) a certain part?

It is common for people to request certain parts or to ask not to be cast in other parts. Sometimes people will ask for smaller roles or lead roles. There will be a place on the audition form to specify any of these requests. Directors generally make every effort to honor these requests and will discuss it with actors should they wish to cast them in different roles than were requested.

What if I want to be involved – but not on stage?

Great! We have plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. Just let us know what you’d like to do. There are opportunities for light, sound, props, set construction, make-up, publicity, etc., etc.

Morning’s at Seven is written by Paul Osborn & performed by arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

USP Archive

Playwriting Contest Awards Presented

Congratulations to playwrite Stephanie Alexander of Newton. Her play, Tulip House, took 1st prize in Union Street Players‘ 2006 Tulip Time playwriting contest. Second Prize went to Letters from Pella written by Pella’s Tom Vander Well, and Third Prize was awarded to From Paris to the Prairie by Sara Kercheval of Montezuma.

The winners were announced at a special reception at the Joan Kuyper Farver auditorium in the Pella Community Center lat night. Members of Union Street Players along with students and faculty from Central College Theatre performed brief staged readings from all three plays before the awards were presented. The three finalists were awarded cash prizes ($600 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, and $150 for 3rd).

This is the second time USP has held the playwriting contest. Tulip House will be produced by USP for the 2007 Tulip Time Festival. Ann Wilkinson, who spearheaded the playwriting contest was quick to mention that the judges were impressed with all three plays and USP will consider producing the other two shows in future years. Pat Moriarity, who was also on the contest committee added that the judges scores were "extremely close".

A total of five plays were submitted to the contest and judging was done by six different members of the Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance. Judges were not given the names of the authors. In fact, until the announcement last night, only one member of the contest committee knew the identity of all five playwrights. Wilkinson is excited about the future of the playwriting contest. She mentioned that two of the judges expressed interest in submitting scripts next time!

USP is proud to be one of the few Midwest community theaters to have a playwriting contest.

Photo: Finalists (left to right) Sara Kercheval, Stephanie Alexander and Tom Vander Well.

USP Archive

Christmas Post Wrap-Up

It’s amazing how quickly it all ends. The stage is bare, the set destroyed, props are back in storage, the program is filed in the archives, and the show is now a part of our memory. Union Street Players’ production of The Christmas Post ended it’s hugely successful run last Friday and by noon on Saturday the set strike had cleared the stage for the next USP production.

USP Treasurer and Christmas Post producer, Pat Moriarity, reports the following attendance numbers for the popular holiday musical:

Thu Nov 30 – 141
Fri Dec 1 – 175
Sat Dec 2 – 194
Sun Dec 3 – 190
Thu Dec 7 – 182
Fri Dec 8 – 220

Total: 1102


  • 1102 audience members makes The Christmas Post one of the most successful USP shows, perhaps second only to the USP production of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory which, legend tells us, featured a bazillion oompa-loompas who each brought their extended families along with miscellaneous pets and livestock to the show.
  • We may have to dust off and scour the archives a bit, but the attendance for our Sunday matinee is the largest matinee audience in memory for USP show.
  • USP is a non-profit organization. Our goal is to break even with every show, and the successful shows like The Christmas Post help pay for some of the smaller shows that have smaller audiences.
  • Twenty-five percent of our box-office goes to the wonderful hosts of USP’s home stage – The Pella Community Center – for rent and use of the facilities. Any profits will help fund future productions.
  • A total of 93 people enjoyed The Christmas Post through complimentary tickets via radio give-aways or welcome wagon gift tickets.
USP Archive

Big Opening Weekend for Christmas Post!

It’s common knowledge that Sunday afternoon matinees are the "let down" of a show’s run. The crowd is small and typically older. That’s why the cast and crew of "The Christmas Post" were amazed to see people lined up down the hallway of the Pella Community Center to buy tickets at the door. Sunday afternoon’s crowd was only 4 less than Saturday night. The place was PACKED!

The word is out. The Christmas Post is a hit, and there are only two more performances to catch:

Thursday December 7 @ 7:00 p.m.
Friday December 8 @ 7:00 p.m.

Please pass the word on to friends and family who haven’t yet seen the show. Seating is limited. Tickets can be purchased in advance from 7:30-4:30 M-F at the Pella Community Center recreation office.