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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00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

Carolyn Scharff to Walk of Fame; Awards Night Oct 3rd

Carolyn Scharff played a leading role in USP's 2011 production of "A Tinkerman Christmas Eve." Scharff will be inducted into the USP Walk of Fame on October 3rd.
Carolyn Scharff played a leading role in USP’s 2011 production of “A Tinkerman Christmas Eve.” Scharff will be inducted into the USP Walk of Fame on October 3rd.

On Saturday evening of October 3rd USP will hold our annual Award’s Night at the Pella Opera House. This is the eighth straight year we have gathered for the event in which we celebrate the previous year’s productions and induct one of our members into the USP Walk of Fame.

This year we honor Carolyn Scharff who is one of USP’s founding members and has been involved in UPS for over a quarter century. Scharff’s first credited roles were as a costume seamstress in the iconic 1989 production of “Polky Dot and the Christmas Wish.” Since that time, Scharff has been active in USP both on stage and off. She co-directed the 1991 production of “The Murder Room.” Carolyn has a reputation among USP members for her ability to find props and has been credited for her work with props in at least seven different productions. She co-starred in the 2011 holiday musical “A Tinkerman Christmas Eve” and will be familiar to recent audience members for her role as the elderly matchmaker Yente in this past summer’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Along with the honoring Scharff, USP plans to unveil memorial plaques for four key members who have passed on in recent years: Mike Atkins, Dottie McGee, Sherman Van Zee and Tom Waechter. Incoming USP President, Cyndi Atkins, will open the evening and outgoing President Tom Vander Well will once again act as Master of Ceremonies.

The Award’s Night festivities are open to the public. USP welcomes all to join in the social gathering that will include heavy appetizers and a cash bar. A highlight of the evening is always the dessert table with cheesecakes provided by Wendy Vander Well. Entertainment for the evening will be the Heather MacLennan Trio from Des Moines. MacClennan is an award-winning jazz vocalist and the trio is a staple of Des Moines venues such as Chuck’s Restaurant and Sam and Gabe’s.

Cost for the evening is $25 for ages 16 and over and $15 for ages under 16. Tickets may be purchased by clicking HERE. DEADLINE is September 29th in order to get our numbers in for food.

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

Don Graves Inducted to Walk of Fame at 2014 USP Awards Night

On Saturday night, October 4th, Union Street Players gathered at the Pella Opera House for our annual Awards Night. Don Graves was this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame. Don was instrumental in the founding of USP and our award winning community theatre’s early years. The evening began with a social hour. USP President, Tom Vander Well, was mater of ceremonies. A slide show highlighting USP’s three productions since last year’s Awards Night was presented. Vander Well announced that all three shows, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Ham Buns and Potato Salad, and Seussical the Musical were profitable productions. The slide show also honored USP Walk of Fame member, Dottie McGee, who passed away this past summer. The evening’s honoree, Don Graves, was introduced by his wife, Bev Graves, who was inducted to the Walk of Fame back in 2009. Together, the Graves represent the third married couple to be inducted, joining Pat and Peggy Moriarity and Arvin and Pati Van Zante. The evening’s program ended with Vander Well honoring Pati Van Zante for stepping up and volunteering to manage the USP Costume Shop for three years after McGee’s passing. All those who have volunteered at the Costume Shop over the years were also honored.

The evening continued in the Opera House auditorium with Theatre Central’s production of The Game’s Afoot. After the show, everyone returned to the Great Room for dessert and merriment highlighted by Wendy Vander Well’s cheesecakes. The cast and crew of the Central show were invited to join in the festivities along with Theatre Central faculty and alumni. Greetings from former Theatre Central professor and USP member, Ann Wilkinson, were shared with the group by Tom Vander Well as conveyed through Mary Jo Sodd.

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

2014 Awards Night; Don Graves to Walk of Fame

Don Graves rehearsing for his role as Jacob in USP's "Joseph"
Don Graves rehearsing for his role as Jacob in USP’s “Joseph”

Members, patrons, friends and fans of Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, are invited to a special evening of fun, celebration and entertainment. At this year’s Walk of Fame Award Event we will honor Don Graves. Don has been an instrumental part of USP since the beginning and has, quite literally, done everything in his service to USP over the years.

Don Graves has not only been on stage, but he has done just about everything back stage that there is to do. He has directed, designed set, been on stage crew, helped with lights, managed tickets, photography, videography and he also served several years as Treasurer of the USP Board of Directors. The current USP Board of Directors is excited to honor Don Graves as this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame.

In addition, this year we will honor the memory of USP Walk of Fame member, Dottie McGee, those who have stepped up to manage the Costume Shop after Dottie’s untimely passing, and honor all who have volunteered their time, talents, and energy to make the Costume Shop a success through the years.

Everyone is invited to celebrate Don and another successful year of community theatre with Union Street Players!

We will honor late USP WoF Member, Dottie McGee
We will honor late USP WoF Member, Dottie McGee








When: Saturday, October 4th
5:30 p.m. Walk of Fame Reception (Heavy Appetizers, Cash Bar)
6:30 p.m. Walk of Fame Award presentations
7:30 p.m. The Game’s Afoot (or Holmes for the Holidays) presented by Theatre Central
9:30 p.m. Post-Show Dessert & Social time (Cash Bar)

Where: Pella Opera House, 611 Franklin, Pella

Attire: Cocktail/Party/Business Casual

Includes reception, show and post-show
$25.00 Adult (16 and over)
$20.00 Child (15 & younger)

Please purchase your tickets by September 26!

To purchase tickets by credit card, please visit Walk of Fame Tickets.
To purchase tickets by check or cash, please call the USP box office at
641-204-1094 or email info@unionstreetplayers.com.

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

USP Taking Nominations for 2014 Walk of Fame


USP Walk of Fame Members present at the 2013 Awards Night (L-R): Deb Linn, Pat Van Zante, Arvin Van Zante, Peggy Moriarity, Pat Moriarity, Dottie McGee, Lisa Witzenburg. Not Pictured: Bev Graves, Shelley Buhrow
USP Walk of Fame Members present at the 2013 Awards Night (L-R): Deb Linn, Pat Van Zante, Arvin Van Zante, Peggy Moriarity, Pat Moriarity, Dottie McGee, Lisa Witzenburg. Not Pictured: Bev Graves, Shelley Buhrow

It’s time for the Union Street Players Board of Directors to begin consideration of the 2014 Walk of Fame inductee. Started in 2008, the USP Walk of Fame honors individuals who have gone above and beyond in helping USP fulfill its mission. Since it began, USP has honored a total of nine individuals:

  • 2008: Dottie McGee, Pat Moriarity, Arvin Van Zante
  • 2009: Bev Graves, Peggy Moriarity
  • 2010: Shelley Buhrow
  • 2011: Deb Linn
  • 2012: USP’s 25th Anniversary (everyone was honored – no individual was inducted)
  • 2013: Pati Van Zante, Lisa Witzenburg

The USP Board is seeking the nomination of individuals who must meet the following criteria:

  1. He/She has been involved in USP for ten years or more.
  2. He/She has contributed in multiple ways (actor, director, stage manager, lighting, sound, set work, Board Member, etc.)
  3. He/She has tangibly helped USP further its on-going mission.

All individuals who have been nominated in the past, but were not inducted, will be automatically reconsidered each year! If you’re not sure if an individual has been nominated, please feel free to submit a nominations.

To nominate an individual, simply provide the following information in an email sent to info@unionstreetplayers.com or in a letter mailed to USP Walk of Fame, 712 Union St., Pella, IA 50219:

  • Your name
  • Your email
  • Your phone number
  • Name of person you are nominating
  • Explanation of why you think this person should be inducted into the USP Walk of Fame.

To help determining who is eligible, the following Microsoft Excel file contains a historical database of individuals and their roles in various productions and positions on the Board of Directors through 2005. Any name on this will have met the threshold of a minimum of ten year’s involvement. There is a drop down menu next to the heading of each field. You can filter your view using the drop down menus to view results by individual.

2014 USP_WOF Historical_Database



2014 Union Street Players Award’s Night

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Pella Opera House

(Once again, Theatre Central’s fall production will be our evening’s entertainment!)

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame

USP to Induct Two Into “Walk of Fame”

2013 08 Pati VZ and Witz

Union Street Players‘ family gathered last week for a potluck to celebrate a successful 2012-2013 and to elect Board Members for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. During the festivities, Board President Tom Vander Well announced that USP will be inducting two individuals to the USP Walk of Fame this fall. The Walk of Fame is a honorary designation given since 2008 to individuals who have been actively involved over ten years and have contributed to the furthering of USP’s mission in multiple capacities. Nominations are accepted from both members and the public. The Board of Directors chooses inductees who are honored at USP’s annual award’s dinner held each fall.

In making the announcement, Vander Well explained that last year the Board of Directors had chosen not to induct an individual into the Walk of Fame because USP was celebrating their 25th Anniversary and the Board wanted to celebrate everyone who had been involved over the years. This year the Board received and considered the nominations of five different individuals. Vander Well reported that the Board found each and every individual nominated worthy of induction. He went on to explain that the annual award is intended to honor every worthy individual over time. Those who were not chosen this year will be reconsidered next year and in future years. Having not awarded an individual last year, the Board of Directors opted to induct two members into the Walk of Fame this year: Pat Van Zante and Liza Witzenburg

Pat Van Zante‘s first credited role for USP was as a seamstress in 1989’s Polky Dot and the Christmas Wish. Her involvement has been on-going since then. She has been on-stage several times and has served as a Board Member, but her greatest mark on USP has been as a Director and with Costumes. In 1997, she took the helm as Director of Music Man. That production launched USP’s tradition of producing at least one musical each year. Hers was the first in a string of 17 annual musicals produced to date. She reprised the musical again in 2007. Last year, her costume work in two USP productions (Night of January 16th and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) made her a finalist for the Iowa Community Theater Associations annual award for outstanding achievement. She won the award for her costuming in Joseph.

Lisa Witzenburg is one of the founding members of Union Street Players when the group officially incorporated back in 1989. Her first credited role was doing programs and make-up for Never Too Late in 1989. Her first credited stage role was as Veta Louise Simmons in 1990’s production of Harvey. She has been regularly involved over the years both on and off the stage. She served two terms as USP’s President and one as Vice-President. She worked as Director on two productions (Legend of the Christmas Rose and Guys and Dolls) and appeared in the spotlight as Marian Paroo in USP’s first production of Music Man. She is credited with many other roles through the years.

USP will induct Pat Van Zante and Lisa Witzenburg into the USP Walk of Fame at an annual awards dinner on the evening of Saturday October 5th at the Pella Opera House. More information will be released in the coming weeks. The evening will include a meal of light appetizers and a brief program. Participants will go upstairs to enjoy Theatre Central’s production of Jekyl and Hyde in the Pella Opera House auditorium followed by drinks, dessert and an informal reception in the Great Hall.

04 The USP Walk of Fame

USP Gathers to Honor Deb Linn

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On the evening of October 15, Union Street Players gathered at Monarch’s on the Molengracht for our Fourth Annual Awards Dinner to honor Deb Linn as this year’s inductee into USP’s Walk of Fame. Pati Van Zante introduced Linn, commenting on her long list of credits with Pella’s award winning community theatre including actor, director, producer, board member and program ad salesperson extraodinaire. She becomes the seventh member of the Walk of Fame joining Dottie McGee, Pat Moriarity and Arvin Van Zante (2008), Bev Graves and Peggy Moriarity (2009), and Shelley Buhrow (2010).

The annual awards dinner was attended by USP members, faithful supporters along with family members celebrating with Linn. USP celebrated another successful year of productions (Annie!, Vintage Hitchcock, Once Upon a Mattress) with a slide show of photos from all three shows. Three USP members were also honored for receiving awards from the  Iowa Community Theatre Association (ICTA). Mark Moreland and Jonathon Gregg were awarded for excellence in character acting for their roles in Vintage Hitchcock. Jana DeZwarte was awarded Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role for her turn as Miss Hannigan in Annie!

2012 represents USP’s 25th Anniversary season with three productions planned. A Tinkerman Christmas Eve is an original musical by USP founder and Walk of Fame member Bev Graves and will be performed the first weekend of December. Ayn Rand’s The Night of January 16th  is a courtroom mystery in which audience members make up members of the jury to decide the play’s end. It will be produced in March and will be directed by Anne McCullough Kelly. The children’s favorite Jungle Book will be produced next summer and directed by Lisa Morgan. The grand finale of the 2012 season will be Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat directed by Pat Moriarity.