Union Street Players, Pella’s award winning community theatre, set attendance records for a holiday show with this year’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The play, adapted from C.S. Lewis’ timeless children’s classic, delighted audiences with a spectacular wintry set (Set Design by Mat Kelly and Deb Linn) and wonderful costumes (Costume design by Lori Vande Zande). Under the direction of Deb Linn and assistant Cody Kooi, the play transported audiences to the mythical land of Narnia where the four Pevensie children (Tom Palmer, Emily Carlo, Will Rasmussen, and Elyse Parisee) become embroiled in a conflict between the White Witch (Jana DeZwarte) and the lion, Aslan (Lonnie Appleby).
For the first time since USP began keeping accurate attendance, a show opened a on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and had performances on a Monday and Tuesday night. Attendance for the seven show run was:
Sun Nov 29: 290
Mon Nov 30: 101
Tue Dec 1: 129
Thu Dec 3: 175
Fri Dec 4: 297
Sat Dec 5: 284
Sun Dec 6: 339
The 1,615 audience members over the seven show run was the largest recorded USP audience for a non-musical holiday show and was greater than this past summer’s seven show run of Fiddler on the Roof (1,517). While it is not unprecedented for a non-musical holiday show to have larger audience than the preceding summer musical, data reveal that it is unusual. The choice to open the show on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend appears to have been a good one. Attendance for the first performance was only surpassed by the last. Sunday afternoon’s final show was sold out by late Sunday morning.
This is the second time USP has produced The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. While individual show attendance is not available for the 1999 production, USP records reveal that 498 people attended.
Next up for Union Street Players is the romantic comedy Almost, Maine directed by Kevin McQuade. Auditions are this coming week. For more information, please click here.
Photos: Jim Palmer