Laurel Ridge’s Spring Follies will delight audiences of all ages this weekend

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Laurel Ridge follies
The Follies are a long-time tradition at the college.

~ Press release issued by Laurel Ridge Community College

This year’s Spring Follies theme should feel like home to many of the Shenandoah Valley audience members, according to director Russell Rinker. The Laurel Ridge variety show, being performed four times March 11 and 12 on the Middletown Campus, is “Goin’ Country.”

“We will celebrate the rural traditions that we all know so well,” said Rinker, noting most audience members likely will have grown up — or are still growing up — in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. “We’ll have great country music going all the way back to Hank Williams and Bill Monroe in the early days. Of course, we have a segment honoring Patsy Cline.”

There are about five dozen performers this year, including children and a dance troupe, Rinker said.

A Strasburg native who has gone on to have a successful theater career that includes stints as a member of Blue Man Group and performing with the Broadway National Tour of “Amazing Grace,” Rinker has been performing with the Follies since he was a young boy. His sister and his parents are also longtime performers with the show. Rinker’s mother, Judy Rinker, was the first Shenandoah County resident to enroll in the college in 1970, was the 1972 Outstanding Graduate and worked at the college for more than three decades.

This is the first time Laurel Ridge Community College library archivist John Owens has taken part in the Follies. He is in a couple of skits.

“I figured I would give it a try,” Owens said. “The show is light-hearted. I had never met Russell before, but as the college’s archivist, I’ve been indexing photos of him and his whole family for years. He’s a riot. He has so much experience with theater.”

This year, both the show and pre-show activities will be in the Corron Community Development Center. Pre-show fun will include food and popcorn for purchase, free ice cream, face painting and cornhole.

The show begins at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. both Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12. The pre-show begins at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. both days. Tickets are $5 at the door, with children 5 and under free.

Proceeds will support the Andrea Ludwick Performing Arts Fund.



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