Star Follies much more than fundraiser for families

10 Mar 2006 - 4:59pm

Rayda Ubeda, Vinny D'Ascoli and Jodee Hub rehearse for Star FolliesNorth Lake Tahoe Bonanza: Since 2000, Star Follies has put together a community production of lip synch and dance numbers each spring; raising cumulatively more than $600,000 for Incline's public schools in the process.

But the stars of the follies, from the cagey veteran to the upstart performer all say the reward of participating in the show extends far beyond financial gains.

"It is a shared experience as a whole community," said Patti Plastiras, who, along with Kelli Maiocco, choreographs the middle school students participating in the show. "What is nice is that it unites elementary, middle and high school - it just networks them on so many different levels."

Plastiras is also one of several parents acting in the performance alongside their children. A collaboration, she said, that further reinforces the idea of community.

"The parents are teaching (their children) to give back to the community," Plastiras said. "To stand there together, in unison and, at the end of the day to be able to say, together we raised $100,000 for our schools... that is really something."

Other parents acting in the performance with their children expressed similar sentiments.

"Having a teenage daughter ask if I would do it... well, I jumped at the opportunity," said Julia Ardell who will accompany daughter, Kathlin, on stage for the all-cast number. "It has been a very positive mother/daughter experience, and a positive experience as a member of the community."

George LeBard will be star in the follies this year with his son, Alan LeBard, 17, and his niece, Andrea Garcia, 17.

"We're not in the same acts," said George LeBard, "but we talk about it at home, we're curious about what each other are doing for the show."

Heidi Laramore, mother of fifth grade student Katie Laramore, will also perform with her daughter.

"I told her if she got picked I would be interested in doing it with her," the elder Laramore said. "There are not many opportunities to share such good experiences. I am actually a little scared having never done anything like this. I am stepping out of my box, but I wanted to do it for her, to be able to share that forever."

Ron Stichter, former star follies actor and event coordinator, this year said it is the bonding that goes on backstage that is the backbone of the show.

"There is just a certain relationship the community shares with the people on the stage," Stichter said. "And the fun we are having is imparted to the audience."

Patricia Hickson
bonanza staff writer

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