EbzB Productions
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EbzB Productions: Your World Is Our Stage!

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Life Is So Good
based on the book by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

Life Is So Good

Original Stage Adaptation

Adapted and Performed by
Mike Wiley
David zum Brunnen

Adapted and Directed By
Serena Ebhardt

Stage Manager
Michael Goolsby

Sound Design
Kevin Leonard

Light Design
Eric Ketchum

Run Time:
100 minutes
50 minute student matinee

Photos - Life Is So Good

Playbill - Life Is So Good

Study Guide - Life Is So Good

Technical Rider - Life Is So Good

Booking Info:
EbzB Productions

"If you go to the theater to have your soul uplifted, experience the magic that great productions create or watch first-rate talent on stage and off, you'll get it all in Life is So Good." 

Raleigh News and Observer.

Life Is So Good --  The story of two men - one looking backward into history, and one looking forward to the future.  They meet to form a remarkable friendship.

In 1998, elementary school teacher Richard Glaubman reads an article about a Texas man who learned to read and write at age 98. Inspired and intrigued, Glaubman arranges to meet him. Eventually the two men collaborate to write the award-winning book Life Is So Good. The book tells the story of George Dawson's remarkable life, showing us the entire 20th century through his eyes and detailing his determination to continue his education and become literate after nearly a century of life. 

The unlikely friendship between Dawson and Glaubman serves as the foundation for the original stage production of Life Is So Good.
Actors Mike Wiley and David zum Brunnen portray the two central narrators, as well as numerous other characters. Serena Ebhardt directs.

Dawson's inspirational life offers valuable lessons in living fully, as well as a first-hand view of America during the 20th century. Dawson shares his insights into humanity, history, hardships, honor, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson manages to find the secret of a long and happy life in a simple philosophy: "Life is so good. And I do believe it's getting better!"

Though he was only twelve years old when he left home to work on a white family's farm, Dawson took with him his parents' positive outlook: appreciation of what he had, the wise observance of others, and common sense.  Dawson's quest to make a living and raise a family take him on many perilous adventures that he survives with optimism. Dawson reflects on his story with moving prescription for a satisfying and meaningful life.

Through his association with Dawson, Richard Glaubman examines his own perceptions of race and history.  While prompting Dawson's memories and recording the answers, Glaubman and Dawson become awkward, but real friends.  They each have something to learn and teach.  The ultimate test of friendship between the two men comes when Glaubman presents Dawson with the publishing contract for their book.  Dawson, who has been told not to trust white men, chooses faith in a friend and the future, over traditional advice.  Glaubman's life is forever changed as he reflects on his newfound appreciation for life.

The George Dawson Literacy Awareness Campaign continues to inspire young people to read.

Richard Glaubman has since written another book about his friendship with George Dawson called, More Than A Book; A Story Of Friendship.

The original book, Life Is So Good, and its subject George Dawson were featured on Oprah's Use Your Life Awards and in Guideposts Magazine. Life Is So Good received the 2001 Christopher Award for Nonfiction for writers whose work "affirms the highest values of the human spirit". George Dawson died at the age of 104 in 2001, but was posthumously honored when the Carroll Independent School District named a middle school after him in Southlake, Texas. While living, George Dawson also received two Doctorates of Humane letters from Texas Weslyn University and New School of New York City.

Review: News and Observer, Raleigh, NC

'Life is So Good' entertains

By Roy C. Dicks - Correspondent
Published: Thu, Oct. 16, 2008
HOLLY SPRINGS -- If you go to the theater to have your soul uplifted, experience the magic that great productions create or watch first-rate talent on stage and off, you'll get it all in "Life is So Good."

EbzB Productions, collaborating with actor/playwright Mike Wiley, adapted its show from the book of the same title about George Dawson, a descendant of slaves who lived through the 20th century.

His experience of turmoil and prejudice was magnified because he was illiterate. Despite harsh treatment and poverty, he enjoyed life and rose above institutional racism in his Texas town.

When Richard Glaubman read an article about Dawson's learning to read at 98, he befriended Dawson, interviewed him about his life, then published the book when Dawson was 101. The book also covers Glaubman's journey gaining Dawson's trust and overcoming rejection from publishers.

With Wiley in the cast, it's a given that entertainment and thematic values will be equally high. As in his riveting performance in EbzB's "Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till," Wiley not only plays Dawson at all stages of his life, with appropriate vocal quality and body language, but a range of characters: black, white, young, old, male, female. Wiley can take your breath away with spot-on changes in accent. He can make you see a white man or a pea-shelling black grandmother with a tilt of the head and a change in pitch.

Wiley is given fine support by David zum Brunnen, who plays Glaubman and a similar range of characters. Zum Brunnen's range is more restricted, but he's convincing as a ladies' man riding the rails or as an aristocratic woman.

Director Serena Ebhardt endows the production with humor and emotion; the pace is tight yet never rushed. She makes clever use of five sawhorses that turn into chairs, doors, horse corrals, train compartments or lynching platforms. Eric Ketchum's lighting helps deftly divide the past from the present, while Kevin Leonard's detailed, affecting sound design adds defining ambience to every scene.

A tendency to snap back and forth between scenes can be confusing, verging on showy effect, and scenes are often short, preventing a strong narrative thrust. But such quibbles don't lessen the overall impact. See it for Wiley's estimable gifts and its object lesson in engaging presentation.

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