2008 Pirates of Penzance

A Note from the Skipper of Pirates!

This from Pirates of Penzance Director, Spencer Ver Meer:

Well, we have docked our ship once again after ten weeks at sea, and we can finally feel dry Iowa land again. It was an utter delight to work with all those who were involved in this wonderful production. I felt a considerable amount of trepidation coming into the early practices, to be honest. I had two young leads who I had never heard before, and were unproven on USP’s stage. They turned out to be boatloads of talent that more than a handful of people credited me for finding. I had to tell them the truth, I got really lucky to have them drop in my lap.

I had several comments on how pure of a sound the daughters collectively had. I had lots who stated the police stole the show. I had a bunch who said the pirate kickline unquestionably had to happen. They knew it was coming instinctively, yet still cheered when it materialized. I had so many who loved being able to see the orchestra and having them as a “part” of the production. I had some that couldn’t believe Arvin could talk that fast (5 for 5, AVZ!), then see him equaled by three more in the second act (5 for 5, again). I had…a great time.

Some that I need to publicly thank. #1: Arvin Van Zante, who was there more than I was in the last two weeks working on lighting schemes to enhance the show even more. My minimalist approach was trumped, and brilliantly I might add, by him. For that I thank him for his dedication. #2: Dan Fynaardt, who came up with the idea of the set, built it all, and gave us tools to use in the future. If anyone needs a couple boxes to borrow for something, I think we can accommodate. #3: Lisa Witzenburg, who stepped up to helm the costume ring. I tired of the “unable to’s” this year from people when I asked them to be costumer, and after so many no’s, you run out of options. Lisa grabbed the rather large bull by the horns and won the battle for all of us. #4 and 5, Jamie Kacur and James Punke, who collectively relieved me of a lot of behind the scenes duties as producers of the show. #6, Tom Hallam, who had the unenviable task of operating 9 mics up and down for two hours a night, and Harv Olsthoorn who organized a lot of the gear we used for this event. #7, Deanna Ihde and Dan Spotten, who ran our light board for the dress rehearsals and performances. #8, our delightful orchestra who made us sound even better. #9 Barb and Brian, who put in a ton of time accompanying during these long rehearsals in June and July. And #10, Vern Haagsma, who had never worked with a baton before (Man, Doug, you got beat by a rookie!), but had worked in everything else directing-wise for many years. And it showed. My favorite comment, and one of the ultimate compliments, was “you could tell he knew how to TEACH, and that’s what he did.” So Thanks to you, Vern for mating this ship with me.

Best of luck to Anne McCullough Kelly in her endeavours with <X12! Don’t miss auditions!

Spence Ver Meer

2008 Pirates of Penzance

“Pirates of Penzance” Pulls into Port

Pirates_teaserUnion Street Player’s summer musical, Pirates of Penzance, closed this past Sunday after a successful five show run. Director Spencer Ver Meer did a fantastic job at the helm of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta. The orchestra and cast filled the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium with music and laughter. Audiences thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Unofficial attendance figures for Pirates:

Wed Jul 30: 138
Thu Jul 31: 116
Fri Aug 1: 164
Sat Aug 2: 129
Sun Aug 3: 158
Total: 705

Thanks to everyone involved in the production. From Production staff, to technicians, along with cast, crew and orchestra!

2008 Pirates of Penzance

Pirates Sail Into Pella!

Pirates_teaserUnion Street Players’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance opened on Wednesday night. The romantic comedy operetta was enjoyed by about 150 audience members. USP normally opens the run of our shows on Thursday nights, so we were excited by the good crowd who came out to see the show.

The show will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday  nights at 7:00 p.m. and will close on Sunday with an afternoon matinee at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for all shows are available and will be available at the door or each performance and in the Pella Community Services office on Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30p.m.

No More Advance Tickets Sales by Phone!

Please note that USP will not be accepting advance tickets sales by phone now that the show has opened. Please plan to arrive at 6:30 and purchase your tickets at the door!

2008 Pirates of Penzance

USP Spotlights Sandy Olsthoorn

SolsthoornUnion Street Players is pleased to spotlight Sandy Olsthoorn, one of the talented actors in our summer production, Pirates of Penzance. Sandy plays “Ruth”, the seafaring maid of the pirates, assigned to apprentice poor Frederic. On USP’s home court, Sandy had the leading role in 1999’s Hello Dolly and most recently played “Lady Thiang” in 2003’s The King and I.  She has an extensive resume performed in many surrounding community theatres, including Newton, Grinnell, Knoxville, and the now defunct Ingersoll Dinner Theatre in Des Moines.  Her favorite role has been playing the Wicked Witch of the West in three different productions of The Wizard Of OZ, the last one in Newton’s 2005 play in which fellow Pirates castmember, Annie Wignall (“Mabel”), played the role of “Dorothy”.

From a home office in Kellogg, Sandy does computer tech support for law enforcement software for Shield Technology Corporation.  She likes to work in her vegetable garden and a number of flower beds around the house that she shares with Harvey, her husband of 34 years.  She is especially proud of the landscaping around the four waterfalls that empty into her fish pond.  But her real hobby is the theater, which she has showcased during the past 22 years in over 60 roles. 

In UPS’s current production of the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, Sandy’s wonderful voice can be heard singing the songs and dialogue of the play.  Her character is Ruth who accompanied Frederic as his nursemaid and has taken care of him while on the pirate ship for the last 13 years.  She has grown to love Frederic as a son, and wants to continue to care for him and to hug him regularly as any good mother would.  Now that her young charge is leaving, Ruth is confused as to her feelings and what her future will be.

Come see Sandy and the rest of the cast of Pirates of Penzance July 30th through August 3rd. Performances will be at the Pella Community Center. More information can be found at www.unionstreetplayers.com and tickets can be purchased by phone by calling Tom or Wendy at 641-620-9107.

2008 Pirates of Penzance

USP Spotlights Tim Hoekstra

Thoekstra_3Tim Hoekstra is our second Actor Spotlight from Union Street Players’ summer production, Pirates of Penzance. Tim plays the Sergeant of Police, head of the bumbling band of bobbies allocated to save the Major General. Tim is a long time veteran of USP, having first been involved in The 1997 USP production of The Music Man as a townsperson, and later one of the school board members.  Since then Tim has appeared as a townsperson in Oklahoma!, the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, a Nazi guard in The Sound of Music (quite the turnaround from the previous show), a gambler in Guys & Dolls, a Seabee in South Pacific, the Professor in Our Town, and a townsperson again in the 2007 production of The Music Man.

Tim works at Central College as the Multimedia Specialist.

In his spare time Tim enjoys spending time with family and friends, singing, playing handbells, and visiting with people he meets on his walks around town.  He is also a Volvo and aviation enthusiast.

2008 Pirates of Penzance

“Pirates of Penzance” Tickets on Sale NOW!

Pirates_teaserTickets are now on sale Union Street Players’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Tickets are $10 in advance for adults and $8 in advance for students. Tickets may be purchased at the Pella Community Center office (M-F 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or you can order by phone using Visa, Mastercard or Discover. Simply call 641-620-9107 (Tom or Wendy Vander Well).

Because of the number of tickets held at the door and never claimed, USP regrets that we will no longer hold tickets without payment. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Community Services office or by placing a credit card order over the phone.


2008 Pirates of Penzance

USP Spotlights Annie Wignall

Annie_wignall_in_usps_pirates_of_peAnnie Wignall is our first Actor Spotlight from the summer production, Pirates of Penzance. Annie plays Mabel, the ingénue daughter of the Major General. Annie is not a familiar face with USP, but is no stranger to the stage.

Annie is a resident of Newton, IA, so her home theater troupe is Newton Community Theatre. Most recently she has been involved in Bye Bye Birdie (Kim) and Wizard of Oz (Dorothy). She is now entering her junior year at Central College, majoring in Elementary Education. In her Spare time she loves to sing, be with friends and family, and volunteer.

When Annie was 11, she came up with the idea to help foster care and crisis care children who often leave their homes with nothing. She provides bags full of essential, safe, and appropriate items for children, ages ranging from birth to 18 years. She started small, filling 20 bags a month in her living room. Now, eight years later, Care Bags is an award winning non-profit organization complete with its own Care Bags for Kids headquarters. Here donations are stored, and over 100 bags are created each month. To date, Care Bags have raised the spirits of over 13,000 displaced, abused, and disadvantaged kids worldwide. For more information, go to www.carebags4kids.org.

Annie appeared in USP’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 2000. Annie is thrilled to be back on stage with USP, and USP is thrilled to have her back to play the role of Mabel.