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 firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase tickets in advance by phone at 641-620-9107.
Seating for USP’s Awards Night is Limited! Order Your Tickets Today!
Dottie McGee and Arvin Van Zante in USP’s 2001 Production of "I’m Herbert", part of "An Evening of Romantic Comedies".