USP Archive

USP Weights Options to Costume Shop Dilemma

For years, Union Street Players has provided the USP Costume Shop as a service to our local community. Schools, churches, community groups, theater troupes and countless individuals have found inexpensive costume rentals for parties and productions. We have been blessed to have the shop at our current location (the northeast corner of the square beneath the Tulip City agency). Ted Zylstra has provided us the space at a very reasonable price.

The late summer rains, however, brought with them numerous water problems. Volunteers have given a lot of time pulling out carpet, scraping carpet backing off the cement floors and moving inventory to avoid damage. While there may be answers to the water problems, the USP board is faced with a larger question of what to do with a growing inventory of costumes in our existing cramped confines.

USP is currently considering our options. The Pella Community CenterCostomeshop1 would be ideal, but there isn’t space available to house the Costume Shop. Discussion has also been generated by the vacancy of the old City Hall building. The building on Main Street has more then enough space, but the building is a historic structure with high renovation costs and an uncertain future.

USP is asking members and those interested for ideas and suggestions as we await word on the what the capital improvements at our current location will cost in rent increase. Please feel free to send your suggestions to

USP Archive

“Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Cast List Announced

This from Steve Hickle, Director of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever":

In order of appearance…

Beth Bradley-Hannah Pickett
Alice Wendleken-India Sarver
Maxine-Kayla Bentz
Charlie Bradley-Payson VandeLune
Bob Bradley-Tim Hall
Grace Bradley-Jamie Kacur
Mrs. Slocum-Lori Pearson
Mrs. Clark-Sally Job
Mrs. McCarthy-Lisa Kay Morgan
Mrs. Armstrong-Cyndi Atkins
Leroy Herdman-Benjamin Atkins
Imogene Herdman-Jana Latchaw
Gladys Herdman-Laura Kleven
Ralph Herdman-Grant Carriker
Ollie Herdman-Jacob Diehl
Claude Herdman-Ridge Kyle McGinley
Elmer Hopkins-Caleb Morgan
Beverly-Isabel Van Wyk
Hobie-Calvin Van Donselaar
David-Zach Van Donselaar
Shirley-Chloe Morgan
Juanita-Jaden Joy Morgan
Doris-Isabelle Hall
Fireman-Thomas Salz
Reverend Hopkins-Randy Icenbice

Claire Anderson
Megan Atkins
Raquel DeGraaf
Victoria Kleven
Natalie Pickett
Sydney Swanson
Calla Van Wyk
Erika Van Wyk
Hanneli Van WykAlexa Zylstra

Shepherds-Jacob Cowman, Cole Morgan

Angels-Jalayna Morgan, Brittany Van Donselaar, Ryan Van Donselaar

The first cast meeting/read through will be next Tuesday at 7:00 in room 201, (the large room across the hall)NOT THE AUDITORIUM!

Thank You to everyone who auditioned and for all your patience. I spent many hours figuring this out and putting it all together. I’m sorry I couldn’t use you all!

Steve Hickle

USP Archive

Big Turnout for “Christmas Pageant” Auditions

This from director of USP’s holiday production, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever:

Thank you for everyone who auditioned, we had a great turnout with 60 who auditioned! There is so much awesome talent, I have many difficult decisions to make! I should have everyone contacted via e-mail or phone by Friday, then the cast list will be posted here soon after. Thanks for your time and patience.

Steve Hickle

USP Archive

Sherm Van Zee in Newton Cemetery Walk

USP’s Sherm Van Zee will be portraying William Bergman, a prominent
businessman in Newton around the turn of the 20th Century at Newton’s "Cemetery Walk" (USP is considering doing something similar here in Pella in the next year or so. We’d love people to attend to support Sherm and give us their thoughts and suggestions!)
Jasper County Museum, NCT prepare for cemetery walk Sept.
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2007
11:32 AM CDT
Special to Daily News

The Jasper County
Museum and the Newton Community Theater will host their 2007 Newton Union
Cemetery Walk on Sept. 16, from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

This year’s event will
include a murder mystery and the commander of the grand army of the

Shuttle busses will leave the Museum for the Newton Union
Cemetery and then return to the Museum afterward.

This year actors will
portray 10 characters from Newton’s past, including Joseph Bond Hough, Armenia
Sampey and William Bergman, not to mention a couple Maytags and the murdered

Tickets are $8 and include the shuttle, cemetery walk and homemade
ice cream and cookies.

Tickets are available at the Jasper County Museum
and at Mattingly’s Music and Book on Newton’s downtown square..

In the
event of rain, the program will be held at the Jasper County Museum

USP Archive

All Roles Available for ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

If you have any questions and/or are interested in auditioning and can’t make either of the dates (Sep 24 or 25 from 7-9 p.m.), please feel free to contact me at or at 515-419-2934

Steve Hickle

Below is the specific casting needs. ALL roles are open to the public. NO roles have been precast.

Grace Bradley: 30ish-Mother of Beth and Charlie, and new director of the Christmas pageant. She’s determined to make the pageant the best one ever, even with the Herdmans.

Mr. Bradley: 30ish-Grace Bradley’s husband, is your average American father, but doesn’t want to go to the pageant almost as much as the kids.

Helen Armstrong: 50ish-In charge of the Potluck supper, Bazaar, and Christmas Pageant, until she broke her leg, and then everything went to the dogs, er, Herdmans.

Charlie Bradley: 8-9-The cute younger brother that could never do anything wrong, until that fateful day Leroy stole his lunch… (serves as most of the comic relief in the play version)

Beth Bradley: 10-11(Narrator in the play version) the oldest Bradley child, who is somewhat like the voice of reason, at least a little bit.

Alice Wendelken: 10-11-The goody-two-shoes girl that the adults love. Alice is just considered to be annoying to her peers, including her best friend Beth.
She’s always Mary in the pageant, but Imogene Herdman made her change her mind…

Maxine: 10-11-The narrator in the pageant, not the brightest bulb in the bunch.

Beverly: 7-8-The girl who, according to Gladys Herdman, "got sick"

Elmer Hopkins: 12-13-Son of the reverend, perfect kid, an example to his fellow students, and is hating every second of it. He’s always Joseph, but he’s too afraid of Ralph Herdman to argue.

Hobie Clark: 9-10-The kid with all the excuses. He’s the personification of the attitude of the kids; he was already bored with the pageant, but now he has to share it with the worst kids in the world.

Mrs. Slocum: pleasant, motherly woman 35-60

Mrs. Clark: 35-60

Mrs. Clausing: 35-60

Mrs. McCarthy: a younger, less imperious version of Mrs. Armstrong- 40’s


2 Firemen

Shirley: 5-6
Juanita: 5-6
Doris: 9-10

Reverend Hopkins: 40ish-Elmer’s father, basically doesn’t want anything to go wrong, and can see nothing but that happening if the Herdman’s are involved.

The Herdmans:
Ralph: 12-13-The biggest, and probably the dumbest.
He’s Joseph, but he doesn’t really know or care what that means.

Imogene: 11-12-The leader of the Herdmans. She tells them what to do, and they listen because, well, she’s Imogene. She’s Mary, and that’s the way she likes it.
She blackmails fat, skinny, smart, dumb, tall and short kids to obtain wanted items. She smokes cigars durring practice of the best christmas pageant ever.

Leroy: 10-11-The guy who always steals Charlie’s lunch. He heard about the refreshments at Sunday school and passed the information on to his siblings.
Although he’s sort of like a thug, he gives the gift of a Ham to Jesus.

Ollie: 8-9-A Imogene Wannabe, Ollie is sort of in-charge of Leroy and Claude.

Claude: 9-10-Just goes with the flow, well, the Herdman flow anyway.

Gladys: 7-8-She’s the smallest, but she’s fast, and she’s mean, and she bites. Gladys is now the Angel of the Lord, who she thinks is her favorite comic book character, the Mighty Marvo.

USP Archive

Best Christmas Pageant Ever Auditions!

Union Street Players announces auditions for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Auditions will be held Monday September 24 and Tuesday September 25 from 7:00-9:00 in the Pella Community Center. The show will be directed by Steve Hickle, who just appeared in USP’s summer musical The Music Man and has extensive theatrical experience in the Des Moines area.

There are parts for four men, six women, eight boys and nine girls. No experience is necessary and everyone is invited to audition.

In this hilarious Christmas tale, a
couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with
casting the Herdman kids– probably the most inventively awful kids in
history. You won’t believe the mayhem– and the fun– when the Herdmans
collide with the Christmas story head on! "An American classic."–
McCall’s Magazine. "One of the best Christmas stories ever– and
certainly one of the funniest."– Seattle Times. This delightful comedy
is adapted from the best selling book and the only story ever to run
twice in McCall’s Magazine.

Production dates Nov 29 – Dec 2 (in conjunction with Pella’s "Tour of Homes")  Show times 7 PM, except
for Sunday matinee – 2 PM.