2008 Cheaper by the Dozen, USP Archive

Auditions for “Cheaper by the Dozen” Roll On

Auditions for Union Street Players’ holiday production, Cheaper by the Dozen continued on Monday night. Director Anne McCullough Kelly and her production staff had their hands full as a hallway full of kids turned out to read for the roles of the Gilbreth children. A handful adults also auditioned for the show, which tells the story of an industrial efficiency expert who uses the raising of his twelve children as a continuing experiment.

There is still an opportunity for anyone 10 or older to audition for the heart warming show on Thursday, August 21st from 7 to 9 p.m. Auditions, held at the Pella Community Center, are open to the public and no experience is required. You do not need to bring anything to audition and no preparation is necessary. There are roles for males and females ages 10 through adult.

Some photos from Monday’s auditions:



Cheaper_audition_3_lr Cheaper_audition_4_lr Cheaper_audition_5_lr Cheaper_audition_6_lr


2008 Pirates of Penzance

A Note from the Skipper of Pirates!

This from Pirates of Penzance Director, Spencer Ver Meer:

Well, we have docked our ship once again after ten weeks at sea, and we can finally feel dry Iowa land again. It was an utter delight to work with all those who were involved in this wonderful production. I felt a considerable amount of trepidation coming into the early practices, to be honest. I had two young leads who I had never heard before, and were unproven on USP’s stage. They turned out to be boatloads of talent that more than a handful of people credited me for finding. I had to tell them the truth, I got really lucky to have them drop in my lap.

I had several comments on how pure of a sound the daughters collectively had. I had lots who stated the police stole the show. I had a bunch who said the pirate kickline unquestionably had to happen. They knew it was coming instinctively, yet still cheered when it materialized. I had so many who loved being able to see the orchestra and having them as a “part” of the production. I had some that couldn’t believe Arvin could talk that fast (5 for 5, AVZ!), then see him equaled by three more in the second act (5 for 5, again). I had…a great time.

Some that I need to publicly thank. #1: Arvin Van Zante, who was there more than I was in the last two weeks working on lighting schemes to enhance the show even more. My minimalist approach was trumped, and brilliantly I might add, by him. For that I thank him for his dedication. #2: Dan Fynaardt, who came up with the idea of the set, built it all, and gave us tools to use in the future. If anyone needs a couple boxes to borrow for something, I think we can accommodate. #3: Lisa Witzenburg, who stepped up to helm the costume ring. I tired of the “unable to’s” this year from people when I asked them to be costumer, and after so many no’s, you run out of options. Lisa grabbed the rather large bull by the horns and won the battle for all of us. #4 and 5, Jamie Kacur and James Punke, who collectively relieved me of a lot of behind the scenes duties as producers of the show. #6, Tom Hallam, who had the unenviable task of operating 9 mics up and down for two hours a night, and Harv Olsthoorn who organized a lot of the gear we used for this event. #7, Deanna Ihde and Dan Spotten, who ran our light board for the dress rehearsals and performances. #8, our delightful orchestra who made us sound even better. #9 Barb and Brian, who put in a ton of time accompanying during these long rehearsals in June and July. And #10, Vern Haagsma, who had never worked with a baton before (Man, Doug, you got beat by a rookie!), but had worked in everything else directing-wise for many years. And it showed. My favorite comment, and one of the ultimate compliments, was “you could tell he knew how to TEACH, and that’s what he did.” So Thanks to you, Vern for mating this ship with me.

Best of luck to Anne McCullough Kelly in her endeavours with <X12! Don’t miss auditions!

Spence Ver Meer

00 News & Updates

Thoughts and Prayers Go Out to Dottie McGee

CostumeshopdoorlrAt the annual meeting of Union Street Players on Monday night, it was announced that Dottie McGee, founder and manager of the USP Costume Shop, has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Dottie was not at the meeting, but asked Tom & Wendy Vander Well to relay the news to the group. The severity of her cancer and resulting treatment is still being determined by her doctors. USP wishes to extend our best wishes to Dottie for a successful and speedy recovery, and encourages everyone to keep Dottie and her family in their thoughts and prayers.

Dottie McGee has been a central figure in Union Street Players. She started collecting costumes in her home in the early years of our organization and it was out of her home that the Costume Shop began operations. The shop was eventually moved to its current location in the basement of the Tulip City Agency building on the northeast corner of the square in Pella. Dottie has tirelessly managed the shop for USP and the community. This past year, USP decided to organize a "Hall of Fame" to recognize individuals who have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to the success of USP. Dottie was one of the first three inductees chosen by the Board of Directors.

Volunteers are immediately needed to help staff the USP Costume Shop on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to Noon. No experience is necessary. The work is simple and fun. USP Vice-President, Jamie Kacur, is organizing the volunteer effort. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in helping, please e-mail Jamie.

00 News & Updates

2008 USP Annual Meeting

UsplogoOn Monday, August 11th the annual meeting of Union Street Players was held. Election of the Board of Directors for the 2008-2009 fiscal year was held. The following board members were elected:

President: Tom Vander Well
Vice-President: Jamie Kacur
Secretary: Anne McCullough Kelly
Treasurer: Wendy Vander Well
At-large: Cyndi Atkins
At-large: Doug De Wolf
At-large: Jana De Zwarte

The following recap of our 2007-2008 year was presented by Board President, Tom Vander Well:

Members of Union Street Players,

I want to thank everyone who made this another great year for our community theatre. Here are a few highlights on which we can look back since our last annual meeting:

  • We had 43 members.
  • We received $6,000 in patron support.
  • We produced 3 great main stage shows:
    • Best Christmas Pageant Ever capped our 2007 season.
      • 819 attended
      • profited approximately $1,300
    • The Odd Couple (female version) kicked off our 2008 season.
      • 401 attended
      • Lost approximately $350
    • Pirates of Penzance was our first attempt at this genre.
      • 705 attended
      • Financial report unavailable at this time
  • We produced performance/video of Pella, the City that Wasn’t There for Pella Corporation and was performed before the largest single audience in USP history.
  • The Costume Shop continued to provide economical costume rentals for churches, schools, community organizations and community members.
  • We started the search for a new location for the USP Costume Shop, seriously exploring three properties.
  • We added the ability to take Visa/Mastercard/Discover for tickets and the costume shop.
  • Thanks to Central College, we cleaned out under the stage and cleaned/inventoried the lights.
  • Thanks to Central College, we cleaned out and organized the Costume Shop.
  • We cleaned out and organized our storage shed at Red Door Storage.
  • We purchased power tools and a locking tool cabinet.
  • We purchased coffee makers & added concessions to our February show.
  • We upgraded our programs, adding photos to the bios in our Odd Couple program.
  • We agreed to start a USP Hall of Fame with an annual USP dinner this fall and three initial inductees: Dottie McGee, Pat Moriarity, Arvin Van Zante.
  • Mat Kelly brought his graphic and artistic talents to our posters and publicity.
  • We added a new banner to www.unionstreetplayers.com.
  • We offered a lighting workshop in February.
  • Work on a USP and Costume Shop database continues (Wendy Vander Well).
  • Work on a USP “Director’s Handbook” was started and continues (Tom Vander Well).
  • Work on USP Scrapbook continues (Jamie Kacur).
  • USP minutes and documents organized and archived (Anne McCullough Kelly).
  • We continued our support of Pella Shakespeare Company.
  • Our Script Committee helped us enter 2008-2009 with two shows slated and interest from multiple directors for a third show. In addition, we are already sketching out our 2010 and 2011 seasons.
00 News & Updates

USP Annual Meeting Monday Aug 11th

ReminderThe annual membership meeting of Union Street Players will be held Monday, August 11th at 7 p.m. in the Pella Community Center. We will take nominations and vote for the 2008-2009 Board of Directors. We will also be discussing and deciding on shows for 2009 and 2010. We currently accepting director’s proposals for a summer 2009 show. If you would like a Director’s Proposal Form, please e-mail us.

The public is welcome, but you must be a member and pay your dues for the upcoming year to vote. Membership is $10.00 annually for Adults and $5.00 for students

2008 Pirates of Penzance

“Pirates of Penzance” Pulls into Port

Pirates_teaserUnion Street Player’s summer musical, Pirates of Penzance, closed this past Sunday after a successful five show run. Director Spencer Ver Meer did a fantastic job at the helm of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta. The orchestra and cast filled the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium with music and laughter. Audiences thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Unofficial attendance figures for Pirates:

Wed Jul 30: 138
Thu Jul 31: 116
Fri Aug 1: 164
Sat Aug 2: 129
Sun Aug 3: 158
Total: 705

Thanks to everyone involved in the production. From Production staff, to technicians, along with cast, crew and orchestra!