Three USP Finalists for Four ICTA Awards


Union Street Players, Pella’s award winning community theatre, is proud to announce that three 2016 production crew members have been announced as finalists for four of the Iowa Community Theatre Association’s (ICTA) annual awards for excellence. Finalists are:

  • Mat Kelly for excellence in scene design for Almost, Maine
  • Mat Kelly for excellence in scene design for The Christmas Post
  • Karen Ryals for excellence in choreography for The Christmas Post
  • Arvin Van Zante for excellence in Lighting for Almost, Maine

Awards will be presented at ICTA’s annual festival. The festival is being held on March 17-18 in Marshalltown.

Several other actors and crew from both 2016 products were nominated for awards in numerous categories, but were not named as finalists. The nominees names will, however, appear in the ICTA Festival program.

Congratulations to our three finalists!


USP’s next production, Noises Off, will be performed March 30 through April 2nd on the stage of the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium in the Pella Community Center. For more information, please visit or visit USP’s Facebook page.


“Christmas Post” Closes Holiday Run


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
Total: 1379

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


Stolen Uniform Articles Retrieved


Late this afternoon a local Good Samaritan contacted Union Street Players to explain that they believed they had located stolen costume pieces, including an authentic Naval officer’s uniform belonging to USP member Jim Palmer, a veteran of the U.S Navy. Palmer had loaned his uniform to Union Street Players for the upcoming production of The Christmas Post. Within an hour of receiving the initial call, most of the stolen articles were back in USP’s possession. A uniform dress shirt and uniform dress pants remain missing.

On Sunday evening a story was posted on USP’s website and Facebook page asking help from the public in locating Palmer’s uniform along with other uniform related articles stolen from Union Street Players’ Green Room in the Pella Community Center last week. While still hopeful that the remaining articles will be retrieved, USP is extremely grateful to the concerned local citizen who located and returned the vast majority of stolen items.

Union Street Players would like to thank everyone in the community who has shared the story on Facebook and other social media. A special thank you to KNIA/KRLS who picked up the story and helped spread the word on their website and news broadcasts. Without community concern and action, it’s doubtful we’d have the stolen items back.

The Christmas Post , a heart-warming Broadway style musical based on two Norman Rockwell paintings will be performed Dec 2-4, 6, 9-10 in the Pella Community Center. For information regarding showtimes and on-line ticket ordering visit

Pella Veteran’s Uniform Stolen from Union Street Players


An authentic naval dress jacket & hat similar to the one worn by Tom Vander Well in the 2006 production of “The Christmas Post”, which belonged to naval veteran Jim Palmer (right, in brown hat) was stolen from the USP Green Room.

Sometime between Tuesday evening, November 8th and Thursday evening, November 10th someone stole several pieces of an authentic naval uniform from Union Street Players’s (USP’s) Green Room in the Pella Community Center. The uniform belonged to USP member Jim Palmer from his years serving our country as a pilot in the United States Navy. Palmer served on the USS Ranger aircraft carrier. Palmer, a member of the cast and crew of “The Christmas Post” had brought his old uniform to the community center to see if they could be used in the show.

“The Christmas Post” is USP’s holiday show and one of the characters runs a small town department store like a naval commander. The character, portrayed by Tom Vander Well, was utilizing Palmer’s dress uniform jacket and hat for his costume. Those two articles disappeared from the USP Green Room along with a white dress shirt, black dress pants, and wool overcoat that all belonged to Jim Palmer. A policeman’s hat, unrelated to Palmer’s uniform was also stolen.

Union Street Players is interested in finding and reclaiming the stolen pieces. If anyone has any information that might lead to their recovery, we encourage you to e-mail us at or call our box office at 641-204-1094.

Tickets On Sale for “The Christmas Post”

USP Logo 150x150

The Christmas Post

Tickets Now On Sale to General Public!

Performance Dates/Times
Fri Dec 2 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sat Dec 3 @ 2:00 p.m.
Sun Dec 4 @ 2:00 p.m.
Tue Dec 6 @ 7:00 p.m.
Fri Dec 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sat Dec 10 @ 2:00 p.m.

purchase tickets button

Advance Tickets
$10 Adults/$8 Students & children
Tickets are $2.00 more at the door.

Tickets for all USP performances are made on-line.
Any unsold seats will be sold at the door 30 minutes prior to performance.
We’re sorry, but USP does not have a physical box office location.
If you need assistance making alternative purchase arrangements, please call our virtual box office 641-204-1094.

The Christmas Post


Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium Seating Chart

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