Union Street Players (USP), Pella’s award-winning community theatre, ended its six show run on Saturday afternoon. It was Director Wendy Vander Well’s third time at the helm of the holiday musical. She first directed the show at Third Church in Pella in 2001. Five years later, in 2006, she was tapped to produce the show for Union Street Players. The heart-warming musical, based on two Norman Rockwell paintings, tells the story of a World War II widow trying desperately to make enough commission at the local department store to buy her children the “special gifts” that will fulfill their Christmas wishes. With the help of an angelic newsstand owner, and the support of friends and co-workers, the widow overcomes a greedy store owner and hard-hearted Sales Manager and develops the faith needed to believe it will happen.
Along with Vander Well, the cast and crew included a few members (Dirk Ryals, Karen Ryals, Cal Van Ee, Brian Vande Lune, Lisa Vande Lune) who had participated in all three local productions, along with a host of others who had been in two of the three. As with most USP productions, the cast included seasoned veterans as well as newcomers, such as lead actresses Mia Andringa (Katie) and Elise Pederson (Alice), who were in their first USP production.
Attendance for the six show run:
Fri Dec 2: 225
Sat Dec 3: 242
Sun Dec 4: 289
Tue Dec 6: 154
Fri Dec 9: 249
Sat Dec 10: 220
For veterans of the 2006 production of The Christmas Post, this year’s show tugged extra hard on the heart-strings, and it wasn’t just the sentimental storyline that elicited emotion. In the past 10 years USP has memorialized three of the cast members of the 2006 production who have since passed away: Mike Atkins (Accompanist), Randy Icenbice (Caroler), and Sherm Van Zee (Brother Sam).
Next up for USP:
Noises Off by Michael Frayn; Directed by Denise Gregory
Auditions Jan 12-14