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 http://www.unionstreetplayers.com or visit USP’s Facebook page.
Union Street Players, Pella’s award winning community theatre, is proud to announce that Lonnie Appleby received the Iowa Community Theater Association’s award for Outstanding Achievement as Lead Actor (Ebenezer Scrooge) in USP’s 2014 holiday production of A Christmas Carol.
In a post on Facebook, Lonnie wrote, “ABSOLUTELY stunned and could not be more humbled!!! THANK YOU!!!” and he added in a personal message to USP President Tom Vander Well, “I DO want to say, in true Jana DeZwarte fashuon, a HUGE….THANK YOU, USP!!!
We are so proud of Lonnie and all of our 2014-2015 ICTA finalists!
Union Street Players (USP) will open our spring production of Ham Buns and Potato Salad in four more days. The two-act comedy about small town Iowa will open on Thursday April 10 for a four show run. Despite a shorter than average rehearsal schedule, a capable, veteran cast and crew have assembled to bring the show to the stage.
Ham Buns and Potato Salad takes place in the fictional town of Hebron, Iowa in the summer of 1991. It is set in the back yards of the Prins and De Haas families. As the play begins, John and Esther Prins have died in a tragic car accident. Their only child, Thomas, is returning to Hebron for the first time since he left high school. When Thomas left for college in New York he found himself in the midst of a scandal. His classmate, next door neighbor and best friend, Marian De Haas, was pregnant. Marian gave birth to a daughter, Abby, but refused to tell anyone who Abby’s father was. The unresolved question of who got Marian pregnant has quietly simmered in the town’s collective conscience, and with Thomas returning for his parent’s funeral the heat is turned up on the old scandal.
The cast and crew of Ham Buns and Potato Salad:
Cyndi Atkins portrays the lovable Lola Van Dam, aunt of Marian De Haas. Cyndi is a USP veteran, having made her debut as Mrs. Cratchit in 2004’s A Christmas Carol and followed that with roles in The Christmas Post and The Odd Couple. Cyndi directed Annie in 2010 has been a member of the USP Board of Directors since 2007.
Karl Deakyne plays Thomas Prins, whose homecoming is creating such a stir. Karl is a relative newcomer to USP, but has made quite an impression beginning with his emotional confession at the end of The Night of January 16th and showing off his song and dance talents in last summer’s Bye Bye Birdie.
Doug DeWolf is a longtime veteran of the local stage and plays Marian’s amiable father, Dean De Haas, in Ham Buns and Potato Salad. He made his debut in the 2001’s Guys and Dolls and has juggled numerous roles as varied as Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing to the prosecuting attorney in The Night of January 16th. Doug served several years as a member of the USP Board of Directors.
Jana De Zwarte plays Marian De Haas. Jana won an award as from the Iowa Community Theatre Association (ICTA) for her portrayal of the evil Miss Hannigan in Annie. Jana also delighted audiences in last summer’s Bye Bye Birdie. Jana is also a former member of the USP Board of Directors.
Denise Gregory plays Betty De Haas, the anxious and doting mother of Marian De Haas. Denise has been very active in USP in the past few years with on stage roles in shows such as A Tinkerman Christmas Eve, The Night of January 16th, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She directed last summer’s Bye Bye Birdie and is a member of the USP Board of Directors.
Griffin Hammel is making his USP debut as former Hebron all-star athlete and potential father of Abby De Haas, Matt Schuler. While new to USP, he is definitely not new to the stage. Griffin brings a wealth of experience to his role. He is graduating from Central College with a degree in Theatre in a few weeks and will be continuing his study of theatre at graduate school in Houston, TX next fall.
Mark Moreland plays the cantankerous but good-hearted Arl Van Dam, Marian’s uncle and husband of Lola. Mark is an ICTA award winner for his performance in USP’s Vintage Hitchcock. Over the past decade, Mark has become well known to USP audiences with numerous roles to his credit including Mr. Gilbreth in Cheaper by the Dozen and one of the memorable Costazuela brothers in the female version of The Odd Couple.
Arvin Van Zante plays Vietnam veteran “Old Man” Schuler who regularly sends the residents of Hebron scrambling with his infamous flashbacks. Over the past quarter century, Arvin has arguably been the most prolific member in USP history dating back to his first role in 1989’s Never Too Late. Actor, director, Lighting Designer, and member of the Board of Directors, Arvin has done it all. He was one of the original inductees of the USP Walk of Fame.
Wendy Vander Well plays Gladys Iskowitch, a Jewish dame from New York who comes to Hebron with Thomas and is experiencing Iowa for the first time. For the past decade Wendy has been actively involved on stage (Night of January 16th, The Dominie’s Wife, K.O.L.D. Radio) and off (director of The Christmas Post, Producer, Board of Directors member).
Lily Villalobos is making her stage debut as Abby De Haas, daughter of Marian. The youngest and least experienced member of the cast, Lily has more than held her own with all of the adult stage veterans. She has brought joyful exuberance to each rehearsal which clearly transfers to her performance. USP is proud to give many people their first stage experience, and we’ve been blessed to have Lily as part of the cast.
Ann Wilkinson (Director) is an award-winning teacher of theatre, having recently won an award from the Kennedy Center Theatre Festival for her work at Central College. Ann has been instrumental in bringing a number of original works to the USP stage (The Dominie’s Wife, Tulip House, Letters from Pella) and to Theatre Central (Dead Man’s Curve, Angel Camp). She has also directed The Fantasticks, K.O.L.D. Radio and served as a member of the USP Board of Directors.
Anne McCullough Kelly (Stage Manager) won an ICTA award for her role in Once Upon a Mattress and has been active off-stage as director of Cheaper by the Dozen and The Night of January 16th as well as being set designer for Morning’s at Seven. Anne has served as Secretary of USP’s Board of Directors for several years.
Elizabeth Keeney (Stage Manager) is graduating from Central College’s theatre program this spring and has brought her experience and expertise to our production of Ham Buns and Potato Salad. We’ve greatly appreciated her faithful attention to detail and keeping everyone in line all the while managing a busy senior class schedule.
Pati Van Zante (Costume Design) is an ICTA award winner for her costume work in USP’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Pati has been involved in USP for a quarter century going back to her first credited role as seamstress in 1989’s Polky Dot and the Christmas Wish. In 1997, Pati directed The Music Man, which was the first in what would become a string of annual Broadway musicals produced by USP. She was inducted into the USP Walk of Fame last fall.
Mat Kelly (Set Design & Construction) is a professor of art at Central College. Mat has quietly made a huge impact off stage for his set work (K.O.L.D. Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, Morning’s at Seven) as well as the graphic design of posters for most USP shows over the past several years. Mat is a member of the USP Board of Directors.
Cody Kooi (Sound Design) designed sound for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this past holiday season and returns to bring his quality audio work to Ham Buns and Potato Salad. He has been actively involved in USP and has assisted with audio on our shows for the past several years.
We invite you to come and see what this talented cast and crew have produced in Ham Buns and Potato Salad. Performances are April 10-12 at 7:00 p.m. and April 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased on-line by clicking here. Tickets are $8 in advance for adults ($10 at the door) and $6 in advance for students ($8 at the door).
For more information email email@example.com or call our virtual box office 641.204.1094.
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.
Friday can technically be ruled a sell out, as there were precious few balcony seats left last night for the opening night of Annie. The official count is being listed as 277 delighted audience members who packed into the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium and gave a standing ovation to Rachel Peter and the rest of the cast on opening night.
The show went without any major glitches. There were the various and sundry mishaps that happen in almost any performance. A spilled tray of water here, a slipped line there. I especially thought it was cute when Annie called me “President Roosevelt” in the final scene before she caught herself. My favorite moment of the night was, however, when I was talking to the President on the phone with cigar in hand. When I slammed my hand on the desk, the cigar which has been drying out on stage for several weeks disintegrated into a puff of flying tobacco debris (Gotta remember to have Drake get that humidor fixed!).
Biggest cast ever?
Yesterday I encouraged people to count the number of cast members in Annie. Some people actually did. The cast of Annie numbers 78. Director Cyndi Atkins reminded me that it might have been 80 but a few actors had to drop out of the cast.
Tonight will be opening night for Hannah Emmert who takes over the reins of the lead role. Break a leg, Hannah!
USP is proud to offer the opportunity for people who have never been on stage before to get a taste of live theatre. Over 30 of the 78 cast members in Annie are making their USP stage debut, and many of them are on stage for the first time (or the first time in many years).
Speaking of stage debuts, the youngest cast member of Annie is Madeline Kelly. Madeline, at 11 weeks old, isn’t even old enough to say she’s “cutting her teeth” on stage. Madeline is the daughter of Mat and Anne McCullough Kelly. Look for Madeline and her mom in the Hooverville chorus!
Being in a USP show is also a family affair for many people. Glancing over the program you can find about 15 parent/child pairs on stage. There are more family couplings if you add siblings and spouses!
As of last night, there remain balacony seats available for both shows this weekend! We recommend you come to the Pella Community center a half-hour before curtain to purchase your ticket. The ticket table is located in the hallway right outside the auditorium.