Union Street Players' world premier of "Letters from Pella" opened last night and generated great reviews from audience members. Producer, Pat Moriarity, reported that there were 124 audience members at the opening performance. Because most Pella residents are busy volunteering during Tulip Time, the Wednesday night performance is generally full of Pella residents for whom this is the only opportunity to see it.
Even life-long Pella residents claimed to learn things about Pella's history that they did not know, even as they were entertained by the story and the colorful characters in Tom Vander Well's original script. The one-hour show shares a largely forgotten story of the intense personal discord between Pella's founders, and their struggle towards reconciliation as they build the town of Pella in the middle of the Iowa prairie.
There will be additional performances each day of Tulip Time at 4:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $7.00 at the door of any performance or at the Central Park ticket booth.
(above) Robert D. Justice plays Tim Bloem, a young pastor who is struggling with the realities of leading his first congregation. Peggy Moriarity plays the matriarchal librarian, Shirley, who takes Tim under her wing and shares with him the incredible story of Pella's first residents.
(below) Cameron Van Kooten (left) portrays Hendrik Hospers, who at 17, came to America by himself and helped create the town of Pella, eventually becoming Mayor. Arvin Van Zante (right) portrays Isaac Overkamp, a tutor to members of the Dutch royal family who became Pella's first schoolmaster.