00 News & Updates

Eight Ways to Get Involved in USP!

Union Street Players (USP) recently made two major changes to our organization. Both of these changes are intended to advance our stated mission of welcoming and embracing a larger number of individuals to participate in community theatre here in Pella.
The first change was to include everyone who donates financially to our group into our membership. The second was a change in our organization’s By-laws establishing eight standing committees to oversee various aspects of our organization and operations. No matter what your gifts, abilities, talents and interests, there is a role for everyone to play in USP. We’d like to invite you to get more involved with us!
Below you’ll find a list of standing committees and their general duties. At least one member of the Board of Directors is on every committee and committees are limited to no more than six members. If you are interested in volunteering some time and getting involved in our award-winning community theatre, please contact our current President, Tom Vander Well at usppresident@gmail.com and he’ll put you in touch with the appropriate person for that committee. You can also leave a message for Tom at the USP Box Office (641-204-1094) .
We’d love to have you get in on the act!

Costume Shop Committee – Chair, Costume Shop Manager
Rentals/Community Donations
Costume Reciprocal Relationships
Costume Shop Volunteers
Costume Shop Landlord relationship
Costume Shop Facebook/website presence
Past Production Gallery
Housing library of scripts and other relevant materials

Financial Committee – Chair, Treasurer
IRS/Investments
Capital Improvements
Vendor relationships (AR/AP)
Annual audit

Technical Committee
Computer hardware and software
Lights/sound/video equipment inventory, organization, maintenance, and storage
Training and oversight of technical volunteers

Production Committee
Play Selection
Director proposal assistance
Audition assistance
Production oversight and assistance
Ensure cast photo, show poster, video, photos are received/archived

Front of House Committee
Box Office
Ticket sales
Usher oversight for performances
Donor care at performances (i.e. Patron Lounge)
Front of house assistance to Directors/Production team
Pick-up of auditorium and gallery after performance

Set/Materials Management Committee
Set design/building
Materials/tools management
Storage units
Prop storage and organization

Events and Marketing
Drama Camp
Middle School Theater Experience
Annual Meeting Picnic
Walk of Fame/Award’s Night (nominations, event, plaques, and etc.)
Selling Program Ads
Advertising/Marketing USP Events
Display case in community center hallway

Back Stage, Green Room, and Room Manager
Organization, cleanup and management of community center rooms & back stage
Make up supplies and inventory
Cleaning supplies and inventory
Audition supplies and inventory
Post-show strike inventory, purge, and cleaning

00 News & Updates, 2016 The Christmas Post

“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

 

00 News & Updates, 2016 The Christmas Post

Stolen Uniform Articles Retrieved

uniform

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 https://unionstreetplayers.com/ticket-information.

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame, Slider Posts

Spence Ver Meer Welcomed to USP Walk of Fame

USP Walk of Fame Members welcome Spence Ver Meer into the fold (L-R, Pat Moriarity, Peg Moriarity, Deb Linn, Pati Van Zante, Spence Ver Meer, Arvin Van Zante, Lisa Witzenburg, Don Graves, Bev Graves)
USP Walk of Fame Members welcome Spence Ver Meer into the fold (L-R, Pat Moriarity, Peg Moriarity, Deb Linn, Pati Van Zante, Spence Ver Meer, Arvin Van Zante, Lisa Witzenburg, Don Graves, Bev Graves)

Union Street Players (USP), Pella’s award-winning community theatre, welcomed Spence Ver Meer into the USP Walk of Fame at the group’s annual Awards Night October 8th. Approximately 50 people attended the festivities at Central College’s Graham Annex.

Since 2008, USP has met annually to honor long-time members who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the community theatre’s success. Each year an inductee is chosen by the USP Board of Directors. General criteria for nomination is ten or more years involvement, contribution in multiple roles (actor, director, producer, Board member, and etc.) and contributing to the furthering of USP’s mission.

USP President, Tom Vander Well, once again served as Master of Ceremonies for the festivities. He summarized what was another successful year for USP, including The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe which became USP’s highest attended holiday show, USP’s middle-school theatre experience with Tom Sawyer, and another record setting year for USP Drama Camp. The group then enjoyed a year-in-review video.

Vander Well also introduced Spence Ver Meer as this year’s Walk of Fame inductee, citing Spence’s faithful involvement over 20 years. While Ver Meer is most notably remembered by audience members for his multiple turns as leading man crooning Broadway favorites in popular musicals such as Sound of Music and South Pacific, he also served as Director (Pirates of Penzance, Our Town), keyboard player (Vintage Hitchcock), and Board President. Vander Well also celebrated Ver Meer for his limitless creativity.

That creativity was on full display during the remainder of the evening. In Ver Meer’s acceptance speech Spence kept the crowd in stitches as he recounted the many women he’s kissed on stage, and the fact that most of them were never seen on stage again. After his induction, he joined with fellow members of Pella’s fledgling improv troupe in performing several improv games for the evening’s audience. In acceptance of the Walk of Fame honor, Ver Meer gave kudos to the many directors and fellow actors he’d worked with through the years.

As the evening’s audience enjoyed dessert, they enjoyed the improv performance from improv troupe members Kathryn Andringa, Lynn Cutler, Denise Gregory, Kathy Haug, Stephanie Lantz,    along with Spence Ver Meer.

 

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame, Slider Posts

Spence Ver Meer to USP’s Walk of Fame

Spence Ver Meer - 1 (1)_Snapseed

Union Street Players, Pella’s award winning community theatre, is proud to introduce Spence Ver Meer as our 2016 inductee in USP’s Walk of Fame. Instituted in 2008 to honor individuals who have contributed to the success of Union Street Players, the Board of Directors chooses an inductee each year. General criteria for induction include over ten years of participation, contributions in multiple capacities (acting, directing, serving on the Board, and etc.), and assistance in furthering USP’s mission. Spence becomes the 12th member of the Walk of Fame.

Spence’s first credited for USP was over 20 years ago in 1995’s The Man Who Came to Dinner in which he played the role of John. Since that time Spence has contributed both on stage and off. Local audience members likely remember Spence for his beautiful voice and lead roles as Captain Von Trapp in Sound of Music (1999 and 2009), and Emile DeBecque in South Pacific (2004). Spence most recently played four different characters in Almost, Maine this past April. In addition, Spence has served as Director (Pirates of Penzance, Our Town) and was President of USP’s Board of Directors in 1996 and 1997.

Spence will be honored at Union Street Player’s annual Award’s Night, Saturday October 8th, at the Graham Annex on Central College’s campus. Please stay tuned to Union Street Players website (www.unionstreetplayers.com) or Facebook page for more details.

 

00 News & Updates, 01 Auditions & Talent Calls, 2016 The Christmas Post, Slider Posts

Cast List for USP’s “The Christmas Post”

Director Wendy Applauds the Audition - 1
Director Wendy Vander Well applauds all of the courageous people who auditioned (and made her casting choices very difficult!)

Thank you to everyone who auditioned for The Christmas Post! There are an amazing amount of talented people choosing to be part of this show, and I’m very excited about the high quality of production we’ll be able to give our community this December. Our rehearsal process is going to be a ton of fun and I look forward to working with you all.

Our first rehearsal will be read-through of the show on Tuesday, September 6 at 7pm. We will also distribute rehearsal schedules and let everyone get a chance to know one another. Please let me know immediately via email (wendyvanderwell@gmail.com) if you will not be able to attend that rehearsal. You may also feel free to email or call (515-326-2661) if you have any questions!

Wendy Vander Well
Director

Hattie McGee: Lisa Witzenburg
Hank: Dave Erickson
Alice Garfield: Elise Pederson
Katie Garfield: Mia Andringa
Brother Sam: Doug DeWolf
Sgt. Buchanan: Jesse Nieboer
Maxwell Q. Seldon: Scott Burns
Mr. Elliot Herzog Jr.: Tom Vander Well
Dixie Plunkett: Kim Beyer
Hapless Shopper: Jim Palmer
Herzog Staff (Nadine): Stephanie Lantz
Herzog Staff (Patsy): Anne McCullough Kelly
Herzog Staff (Otis): Brian Vande Lune

Shoppers
Veronica Acosta
Mary Chaffin
Julie Collins
Lynn Cutler
Dave Erickson
Denise Gregory
Tianna Loftis
Holly Long-DeWolf
Jim Palmer
Karen Ryals
Arlyn Stuart
Mike Van Zee

Teenage Shoppers
Titus Hopkins
Braden Rowe

Child Shoppers
Ellah Acosta
Samantha Mora
Kadin Schreyer Ryals

Carolers
Kathryn Andringa
Jordan Marie DeArmond
Sara Purdy
Dora Roorda
Doug Roorda
Thomas Salz
Cal Van Ee

Newsies
Sophia Burns
Eli Ebeling
McKenna Evans
Luke Fairchild
Connor Gauley
Abigail Hietbrink
Tess Hopkins
Trace Hopkins
Trent Hopkins
Josephine McDonald
Kalyn Oltrogge
Elisabeth Pumphrey
Nora Rasmussen
Will Rasmussen
Penelope Shriver
Eliza Van Zee
Kylie Villobos
Hope Vos
Zoie Winward

00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame, Slider Posts

USP Sets the Stage for 2016-2017

Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, held our annual picnic and year-end meeting last night at West Market Park. For several years our group has held a potluck picnic in August to celebrate the end of our fiscal year (Aug 31), renew memberships, and elect our Board of Directors for the coming year. It was a gorgeous summer evening and everyone enjoyed the food and socializing.

Outgoing USP President, Cyndi Atkins, presided over a brief meeting and shared an annual recap of our group’s 2015-2016 fiscal year (full text below). Treasurer Wendy Vander Well handed out a Treasurer’s report showing a positive fiscal year balance through the end of July. Pati Van Zante shared a year-end report on the USP Costume Shop. Cyndi then announced that this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame is Spence Ver Meer. An October 8th awards night is planned at Central College.

Elections were then held for the USP Board of Directors. Our Board for 2016-2017 will be:

President: Tom Vander Well
Vice-President: Deb Linn
Treasurer: Wendy Vander Well
Secretary: Kim Beyer
At-Large: Doug DeWolf
At-Large: Jana DeZwarte
At-Large: Arvin Van Zante

Shows currently scheduled for 2016-2017 (all shows/dates subject to change):

Holiday 2016: The Christmas Post (Wendy Vander Well, Director)
Spring 2017: Noises Off (Denise Gregory, Director)
Summer 2017: The Wizard of Oz (Anne McCullough Kelly, Director)
Holiday 2017: It’s a Wonderful Life (Pati Van Zante, Director)

Here is President Cyndi Atkins report on Union Street Players 2015-2016 year:

Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which delighted audiences with a spectacular wintry set and wonderful costumes. Kudos to director Deb Linn and assistant Cody Kooi for a record-breaking show. The 1,615 audience members over the seven show run was the largest recorded audience for a non-musical holiday show! The choice to open the show on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend was a good one.

This spring, we welcomed new director Kevin McQuade who brought Almost, Maine to our stage. The show was set in the depths of winter on a moonless night in northern Maine. It’s a chilly, snowy setting and much of the cast, costumed by Linda McQuade, spent their time on stage sweating in full winter regalia. The seven cast members delighted audiences with the script’s nine vignettes which produced both laughter and tears.

Our summer show, Sabrina Fair, was sadly cancelled this spring. With only 14 roles, it was disappointing to have only half that number try out. And even with recruitment, we were missing some key actors. But summer has not been quiet on the set at the Community Center.

The Middle School Theatre Experience led by Cody Kooi and Deb Linn brought 20 students to direct, produce, costume, run lights and sound and act Tom Sawyer in early June. Students were selected on a first-come, first-served basis in early May and then began meeting weekly to discover how a show goes together. The experience ended with a weeklong production schedule where all the pieces were put together before two performances at the end of the week to a delighted audience of family and friends.

Later in the summer, drama camp opened at the Community Center. The camp, under the leadership of Brystal Hopkins and Suzi Jones, continues to be immensely popular – filling just three days after it opened. Another grade school session was added the following week. In addition to the two grade school sessions and a junior high session, an alumni camp was a popular addition this year. Over 120 children celebrated life in the theatre during the drama camp weeks.

There are many other items that I could report, but I’m going to stay with some minimum things that we should have on file. For example, our current checking account balance is $59,842.01 and I would ask our treasurer to present her report. And our Costume Shop report was emailed to members earlier and again a final report will be given in September, but I do want to call out two remarkable things: our rental income was $4,491 during 2015-16 and we received an amazing $17,723 in community donations this year. What a wonderful, supportive community! Pati Van Zante has additional comments on the Costume Shop.

Coming up this fall, we will be hosting the annual Union Street Players Walk of Fame. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 8 at Central College. It is my great pleasure to announce that Spence Vermeer will be our honoree for 2016! Congratulations to Spence and we look forward to celebrating with you in October.

Let’s finish this meeting with our election of the USP board. I think it’s wonderful to see so many coming back this year with an interest in being involved in our community. I thank all of you who are willing to serve.

Respectfully submitted,

Cyndi Atkins
President