00 News & Updates, Slider Posts

15 Ways You Can Get Involved in USP

Union Street Players is a non-profit volunteer organization. There’s not a person involved in USP who didn’t, at one time or another, take that courageous step to audition for a show or volunteer for a task. USP is a great way for new members of the community to meet new friends, be part of a short-term project, and have a lot of fun. Whether you’re an experienced stage hand, enjoyed being in shows back in your school days, or have being in a show on your bucket list, USP affords everyone a myriad of ways to get involved.

  1. Audition for a show. Whether you’ve had experience on stage or have always wanted to try it, USP offers opportunities for you to get in on the act. No roles are precast and everyone is welcome to audition. No experience is necessary. Almost every USP cast includes some one making their stage debut. Come on out and give it a shot!
  2. Be an usher. Small time commitment with direct benefits. Being an usher on performance night is a great way to meet cast and crew and enjoy the excitement of production. Each show’s producer is generally looking for volunteers 2-4 weeks prior to opening night. Ushers get to stay and watch the show for free (unless the show is sold out).
  3. Help with costumes. Each show requires a lot of help getting actors in the right costume. We are blessed to have the USP Costume Shop at our disposal, but we still need individuals with an eye for fashion, perhaps a little history, and dose of flair to make sure each character looks their best on stage.
  4. Be a production assistant. For those who are great with details and organizational skills, there are opportunities to help directors and producers with scheduling, keeping track of actors’ blocking, jotting rehearsal notes, communicating with the cast/crew, and a host of other tasks that come with running a production.
  5. Help build the set. For crafty construction types, being a part of the set crew is a fun way to work with a fun team of individuals in building a set that will function for the actors and wow the audience. If pounding nails, sawing lumber, and painting with a little ingenuity sounds like your kind of fun, come help our set crew.
  6. Be a stage hand. There are many individuals who aren’t excited about being in the spotlight, but love being part of a show’s success. Each show requires stage hands who open curtains, change the set between scenes, and make sure actors are in place for entrances. Plus, you get to wear a cool headset and talk with the other crew members during the show.
  7. Run the light/sound board. In a booth clear up in the back of the auditorium sit each show’s “Wizards of Oz” (e.g. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”) who are making things happen on stage. Our computerized lighting system and out updated audio equipment require individuals who love to work with technology and are every bit as crucial to a production as the actors on stage.
  8. Help with auditions. Every USP show begins with a series of auditions. As aspiring actors swarm to the Pella Community Center to try out of the show, we always need help checking people in, taking and printing photos, calling actors in and out of the auditorium, and reading scenes with actors.
  9. Assist with marketing. We can’t get audiences in the seats if we don’t get the word out. There are always opportunities to help with marketing efforts. Write an article, a tweet, or a blog post. Help send press releases, set up interviews with the media, and distribute posters.
  10. Help with props. Do you like scavenger hunts? Every show requires us to find a scavenger hunter’s list of items needed on stage known as “properties” or “props.” Where can we find a vintage typewriter? Who has a large set of multi-colored tupperware? If the thrill of the hunt is your thing, then you may be USP’s next Properties Master!
  11. Make Music. USP does a musical each year. With each musical comes a need for people with musical abilities. Vocal directors, music directors, accompanists, and instrumentalists. If you have music ability, then we likely have a place for you on our team!
  12. Dance Dance Dance. Our annual musicals also require individuals with choreography experience. If you love to dance, then consider helping choreograph our next production number.
  13. Hair and make-up. Shows almost always require actors to do certain things with hair or make-up to complete their on-stage character. USP is always looking for volunteers who like being creative with styling hair or applying stage cosmetics.
  14. Become a patron. We would not be successful without the financial assistance we receive from our many loyal patrons. Our mission is to continuously increase the production quality of our shows and that often requires investment in the latest audio, video, lighting, or stage technology. As a non-profit, we keep our ticket prices low to ensure that everyone can see our shows. This means that we value our financial patrons as key members of the USP team.
  15. Just come to a meeting. Still not sure where you might fit in? Don’t worry. We’ll find a place to plug you in. Consider simply stopping by our next meeting. Our monthly membership meetings are open to the public and they are always held the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 201 of the Pella Community Center (712 Union Street). Many of our members began their relationship with USP by simply showing up at a meeting. We invite you to stop by. We look forward to meeting you!

Please feel free to e-mail one of our Board members with questions or requests for more information:

2015-2015 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte
2015-2016 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte

Cyndi Atkins (Pres.): cyndiatkins@gmail.com
Deb Linn (V.P.): deb_linn@hotmail.com
Kim Beyer (Sec.): kim.beyer@comcast.net
Denise Gregory (Treas.): denise2352004@yahoo.com
Jana DeZwarte: punkrockjana@hotmail.com
Cody Kooi: cody.kooi@gmail.com
Mark Schaefer: mschaefer22@yahoo.com

00 News & Updates

Union Street Players Awarded “Best of Red Rock Area”

Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, is honored to have once again been voted the best performing group in the Red Rock Area by the Marion County Development Commission‘s annual “Best of Red Rock Area” initiative. In addition, attending a Union Street Players performance was voted one of the Top 10 Activities  in Marion County.

Union Street Players Board President, Cyndi Atkins, was present to accept the awards on behalf of USP. A full list of the “Best of the Red Rock Area” can be found here. Thanks to all of our community members who voted and continue to make USP Pella’s award-winning community theatre!

00 News & Updates

USP’s 2016 Season

2016 USP Season Graphic SquareUnion Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, is excited to announce our 2016 season. Each year USP produces three main stage productions in the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium of the Pella Community Center. Our 2016 season is an exciting mix of comedy, romance and heartwarming family fare that local audiences will love.

Our 2016 spring production, Almost, Maine, is a romantic comedy that in recent years has been produced by more high schools and community theaters than any other play. It is a heartwarming string of related scenes set in the depths of a Maine winter, and it is sure to keep audiences laughing while tugging on the heart-strings. Under the direction of Kevin McQuade, Almost, Maine will be the perfect show for date night or your small group’s evening out.

Many famous Hollywood classics began as stage plays, and our summer production will allow our local audience to experience the script that launched two popular films. Sabrina Fair is a romantic comedy that tells the story of a chauffeur’s daughter, returning from school in Paris, who upends the wealthy aristocratic New York family her father has worked for all her life. The play became the classic film, Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart and then a popular remake starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. Sabrina Fair will be directed by Cyndi Atkins (who also directed USP’s Annie) and is slated for a late July production.

Our 2016 musical is a holiday show slated for the first weekend in December. The Christmas Post is a heartwarming family musical inspired by two Norman Rockwell paintings. Set during the post World War II era in a local department store, it tells the story of a young widowed mother who struggles to raise enough money to buy her children Christmas presents. The musical was a big hit for USP when it was first produced in 2006. Wendy Vander Well, who directed the original production, will returns to the director’s chair the 2016 show.

Please continue to follow unionstreetplayers.com for the latest on show dates and audition information. Auditions are always open to the public and no roles are precast. USP is a non-profit volunteer organization and is always looking for individuals who are interested in getting in on the act both on stage and back stage. You can follow us on Twitter @unionstplayers or get the latest by clicking “Like” on our Facebook page.

00 News & Updates

Seven USP Alumna Nominated for 2016 Tulip Court

Here at Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, we’ve long known that being involved in theatre helps develop kids into confident, expressive, well-rounded individuals. So, it comes as no surprise that we have five USP alumni nominated for the 2016 Tulip court! We encourage everyone to support these amazing young ladies in their bid to represent our community at next year’s Tulip Time.

USP Alumni nominated are (in alphabetical order):

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Maria Bandstra (Bye Bye Birdie 2013)


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Camille Henry (Little House at Plum Creek 2009; Annie 2010; A Tinkerman Christmas Eve 2011)


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Mariah Kooyman (Fiddler on the Roof 1998; A Christmas Carol 2004; Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus 2005; The Christmas Post 2006; Charlotte’s Web 2010; Annie 2010; Once Upon a Mattress 2011; Jungle Book 2012; Bye Bye Birdie 2013)


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Elyse Parisee (The Sound of Music 2009; Little House Christmas at Plum Creek 2009; Annie 2010; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 2015)


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Sarah Peterson (Letters from Pella 2009; Little House Christmas at Plum Creek  2009; Charlotte’s Web 2010; Annie 2010; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 2012; Bye Bye Birdie 2013; Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2013)


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Rebekah Wilborn (Best Christmas Pageant Ever 2001; A Christmas Carol 2004; Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus 2005)


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Kara Zondervan (Bye Bye Birdie 2013)


Residents living in the Pella Community School District who are at least 17 years old may select their top three candidates from the 19 ladies nominated. They can drop their ballots off at the Pella Hy-Vee, Fareway, Pella Historical Society, and Marion County Bank by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20th. Official ballots are included in this week’s local newspapers, and no photocopies or handwritten ballots will be permitted.

Once the votes have been tallied and the twelve finalists are selected, the 2016 Tulip Time Royal Court will be chosen by a panel of judges on Saturday, November 14th at 7 p.m. in the Pella High School Auditorium.

00 News & Updates, 2015 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Tickets Now on Sale for USP’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

LWW Graphic high res

Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, is announcing that tickets are now on sale for the holiday production of C.S. Lewis’ timeless family classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Under the direction of USP Walk of Fame member Deb Linn, the story of the four Pevensie children who enter the enchanted world of Narnia is sure to delight audience members of all ages. The show features a cast of 35 actors of all ages.

Production Dates/Times:

Sun Nov 29 at 2:00 p.m.
Mon Nov 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Tue Dec 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Thu Dec 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Fri Dec 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Sat Dec 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Sun Dec 6 at 2:00 p.m.

All shows are on the stage of the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium in the Pella Community Center, 712 Union Street in Pella, Iowa.

Advance tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students/children. Tickets may be purchased on-line by clicking the button below. If you have a coupon or voucher, please call our virtual box office at 641-204-1094 to make arrangements. USP does not have a physical box office. Tickets must be purchased on-line in advance. Any remaining seats can be purchased at the door.

purchase tickets button

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

USP Stars Shine Bright at 2015 Awards Night

The local stars were shining at USP’s 2015 Awards Night last night at the Pella Opera House. USP President, Cyndi Atkins, opened and closed the program in which Carolyn Scharff was inducted into the USP Walk of Fame and honored for her many years of service to USP and local theatre. Fellow Walk of Fame member and USP founding member, Bev Graves, introduced Scharff. It was the second year in a row that Graves introduced the Walk of Fame honoree. Her husband, Don, was inducted last year.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Heather MacLennan Trio, which was a big hit with those who attended. After the ceremony the group enjoyed cheesecake provided by Wendy Vander Well. Her new creation, the Dutch Letter Cheesecake, was a big hit. The group danced and mingled late into the night. Cyndi Atkins reminded attendees of the great slate of USP shows planned through 2016 including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Dec 2015), Almost Maine (Spring 2016), Sabrina Fair (Summer 2016), and The Christmas Post (Dec 2016).

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