Costume Shop Serves Halloween Revelers

EvilPeople were standing outside the door of the the Union Street Players Costume shop on Thursday when it opened for extended hours. A steady stream of customers packed the shop as trick or treaters rented costumes, adults got costumes for parties, and high school girls picked up poodle skirts for Pella High School’s production of Grease.

Do you have your costume?!

The costume shop will be open regular hours on Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and the shop will be open next Thursday evening from 6:00-8:00 for extended Halloween hours.

Come on in!

USP Celebrates at First Annual Award’s Night

Pat_arvin_101808_lrThe mood was festive at Monarch’s on the Mollengracht last night as Union Street Players gathered for their first annual Award’s night. Over 30 members, alumni and family shared a meal together before the evening’s program began.

Current USP President, Tom Vander Well, served as Master of Ceremonies. The group honored four of those present who were at the first official meeting of USP back in 1988 (Carolyn Scharff, Lisa Witzenburg, Don Graves, and USP’s first President, Bev Graves). Our community theatre has come a long way since that first meeting, producing 67 shows over 21 seasons.

The purpose of the Award’s Night  was to honor three USP members who have devoted countless hours over the years to ensure our community theatre’s success.

Tom Vander Well announced that one of the first honorees, Dottie McGee, would be presented with her award at next year’s event. McGee is at home battling cancer. The group, nonetheless, honored her with a stirring ovation.

Ann Wilkinson introduced the next honoree, Pat Moriarity. Pat served as USP Treasurer for many years and, under his leadership and influence, USP has steadily built our financial stability. Thanks to Pat, USP operates "in the black." Yet, Pat’s contribution is far more than financial. Pat has kept USP oganized and operating through the years. He has produced many shows and has graced our stage with many memorable performances.

Doug DeWolf presented the final award of the evening to Arvin Van Zante. To many local theatre goers, Arvin is the face of Union Street Players. His talent on stage has been evident in the numerous roles he’s played. The larger role that Arvin has played in USP as an organization has been even more critical to our success. He served as President for many years, has produced, and directed. There is very little that Arvin hasn’t done for USP in the past 20 years.

USP’s Award Night was organized by three current board members: Cyndi Atkins, Jamie Kacur, and Doug DeWolf.

2008_usp_awards_night_panorama_lr

(L-R)Usp_2008_awards_night_01_lr Holly DeWolf, James Punke, & Deb Linn.

Usp_2008_awards_night_02_lr (L-R) Nancy Moreland, Mark Moreland, Spencer Ver Meer.

Usp_2008_awards_night_03_lr(L-R) Peg Moriarity, Wendy Vander Well, Ann Wilkinson, Pat Moriarity.

USP Announces 2009 & 2010 Seasons

At last week’s meeting of Union Street Players, the Board of Directors and membership approved the shows which will be produced in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. For several months, the USP Script Committee has been reading plays and reviewing Director’s Proposals for several shows. The committee makes recommendations to the board. In some cases, a potential director will propose a show they wish to do, and the committee works with the board to decide if it is a show USP should produce.

Earlier this year, the USP Board and membership approved the Broadway musical, Annie for the 2009 season. However, it was discovered that the group could not get rights to produce the show since a regional touring company will be producing the show in Iowa next year. That meant that the schedule had to be juggled.

The approved upcoming seasons are:

2009

Letters from Pella by Tom Vander Well (Tulip Time 2009)

Runner-up in USP’s 2006 Tulip Time Playwriting contest, Letters from Pella draws upon actual letters written by Pella’s first residents back to their native Holland. The play tells a largely forgotten and untold story of the struggle, division and conflict among Pella’s founding citizens. In their own words and through their experiences, we are reminded that "people are people" and the struggle for true community does not change with time.

Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein (Jul-Aug 2009)

It has been ten years since USP first produced this classic tale of love, faith, family and loyalty. We figured it was time to produce the show for a whole new generation of Pella families! Set in the changing political climate of the German alps in the late 1930’s, and based upon the true experiences of the von Trapp family, Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, a would-be nun who is placed as a nanny of a widowed German military officer and his brood of children. Realizing that they must flee the tide of Nazi fascism, the family escapes over the alps to freedom. The musical brought many unforgettable songs to the American music lexicon, including The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things, and Do-Re-Mi.

Sabrina Fair by Samuel A. Taylor (Nov-Dec 2009)

This romantic comedy debuted on Broadway in 1953 and inspired two movies. The first film adaptation starred Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. A remake in 1995 starred Julia Ormand, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford. Sabrina Fairchild is the daughter of a chauffeur who has recently returned from Paris. Having once had a crush on the young playboy, David Larrabee, she finds herself drawn to Linus, David’s older brother. Sabrina Fair is an elegant, romantic comedy that is sure to delight our USP audience.

2010 Season

K.O.L.D. Radio by Phil Olson (Feb 2010)

This show is perfect for a warm laugh on a cold Winter’s evening. The setting is Whitefish Bay, Minnesota, up near the Canadian border. Lars Knudsen is the host of a radio show called, "Crappie Talk," devoted entirely to ice fishing for Crappies. Lars has no listeners, so he loses his only advertiser, Ole’s Bait Mart and Deer Petting Farm. Martha Bjorklund, Lars’ love interest, hosts "Book Beat." She has all the listeners, and all the advertisers. Lars has issues with this. The issues multiply when a Brooklyn Italian comes to Whitefish Bay, buys the radio station, promotes Martha and fires Lars. Lars has his work cut out for himself. He needs his job, he needs his dignity, but most important, he needs Martha. Will you enjoy this show? Ya, youbetcha!

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, adapted by Joseph Robinette (Summer 2010)

Unless you have been under a rock for the past fifty years, you must be at least marginally familiar with E.B. White’s classic children’s book Charlotte’s Web, which is described by its author as being "a story of friendship and salvation on a farm." In Charlotte’s Web (the bestselling children’s paperback of all time), a spider named Charlotte A. Cavatica becomes friends with a runty pig named Wilbur and, through her machinations and inspired web-weaving, manages to save him from becoming a breakfast side dish!

Annie with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin (Nov-Dec 2010)

Based on the Harold Gray comic strip and the book by Thomas Meehan, Annie tells beloved story of the little orphan girl who rises above the Great Depression, personal tragedy and the machinations of the scheming Miss Hannigan to be adopted by the kind Daddy Warbucks. A favorite on Broadway for many years, Annie is a story of hope that the whole family will enjoy; a show that reminds us that "the sun will come out tomorrow!"

Shows and schedules are subject to change.

USP Inducts Three in “Walk of Fame” at Awards Night Oct 18

For over 20 years, Union Street Players (USP) has been Pella’s community theatre. Founded in 1987, the local stage troupe has produced popular Broadway musicals, original works by local writers, as well as classics by the likes of William Shakespeare. Keeping the successful non-profit organization alive and growing has required the tireless efforts of numerous volunteers. On October 18th, the group plans to honor three of these key members at their first ever “Awards Night.”

“Each year the board and membership of USP expend a lot of time and energy to stage three or four shows,” said current President, Tom Vander Well. “Without these three very special people, USP would not be the successful organization it is, nor is it likely that Pella would have witnessed so many quality productions through the years.”

Dottie McGee, Pat Moriarity, and Arvin Van Zante will be honored at what the group hopes to be the first of many annual Awards Dinners. The three individuals will be the inaugural inductees on USP’s “Walk of Fame.” The USP members chose the term “Walk of Fame” because it specifically alludes to a continuing journey.

“These three crucial members are definitely not retired,” said Vander Well. “We want and need their continued involvement and look forward to all they will add to the Pella stage for years to come. We wanted to find a way to honor people who have given their time and energy to USP for years. We want to thank them for all they have, thus far, contributed. USP would not be the successful community theatre it is today, were it not for their tireless efforts.”

Dottie McGee has been involved in USP since the early days of the organization and focused her passions on costuming. For many years, costumes consumed her home and she eventually opened the USP Costume Shop to rent costumes to local individuals and groups. The USP Costume Shop eventually moved to the northeast corner of Pella’s square, and McGee has faithfully maintained her role as manager. Each Saturday morning she volunteers to keep the shop open from 9 a.m. to noon. Her costuming talents have recently been recognized by Central College’s theatre department, where she has been employed since 2007.

Pat Moriarity started volunteering with USP when his young children were cast in shows. Pat, and his wife Peg, soon found themselves on stage, as well. Despite the fact that their children are grown, married and having children of their own, Pat’s involvement in USP never ended. Pat served as the group’s Treasurer for many years and is recognized by USP members as the man largely responsible for keeping USP organized and functioning smoothly. His administrative responsibilities have not kept him off stage, however. Pat has been seen in countless USP productions.

Arvin Van Zante is, to many Pella residents, the face of Union Street Players. The undisputed elder statesman of the group, Van Zante served for years as the group’s president while being a popular fixture on stage in numerous shows. Producing, directing, lighting, and acting may be the most visible roles Van Zante has performed for the organization. The truth is that there is very little that he hasn’t done, at one point or another, in his long tenure with the group. As the current Past-President, he still serves as an ex-officio member of the USP board and maintains his on stage presence. He played the Major General in USP’s production of The Pirates of Penzance this past summer.

The first annual USP Awards Dinner will be held at Monarch’s on the Molengracht on Saturday, October 18th at 6:30 (cash bar open at 5:30). Reservations are required and tickets are $20 per person if paid in advance ($25 if paid at the door). Those interested may make reservations by sending an e-mail to info@unionstreetplayers.com or purchase tickets in advance by phone at 641-620-9107.
Seating for USP’s Awards Night is Limited! Order Your Tickets Today!Dottiemcgeearvinvanzante_4

Dottie McGee and Arvin Van Zante in USP’s 2001 Production of "I’m Herbert", part of "An Evening of Romantic Comedies".

PatauditionlrPat Moriarity auditions for USP’s 2006 production of "The Christmas Post."

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