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War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II

War Bonds

Arranged and Performed by
Serena Ebhardt and
David zum Brunnen

The War Bonds Orchestra
Julie Florin - Musical Director, Piano
Greg Florin - Drums
Aaron Bittokofer - Bass
Wayne Leechford -  Woodwinds
Al Strong - Trumpet

Alternates: Greg Dixon, Ed Brown, Mike Davis, Dave Johnson, Mark Gloden,
Albert Boulus.

Run Time:
1 hour and 40 minutes
50 minute Student Matinee


Demo Reel

Hi-Res Graphic 1

Hi-Res Graphic 2


Photos - War Bonds

Playbill
- War Bonds

Reading List - War Bonds


Study Guide - War Bonds

Audience Etiquette Tip Sheet

Technical Rider - War Bonds

Compliments and Reviews

Vocal Samples:



Booking Info:
Alkahest Artists & Attractions, Inc.
Phone: 888.728.8989
e: info@alkahestartists.net
w: www.alkahestartists.net


War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II
The edited-for-television version premiered in 2007 as part of UNC-TV's World War II documentary project and aired nationally on public television throughout the United States.  The national broadcast version continues to air via American Public Television* (APT) distribution (www.aptonline.org).



EbzB Productions presents: WAR BONDS: The Songs and Letters of World War II -- a musical journey through a war that redefined the world. This multi-media living history cabaret is interspersed with personal letters from the front and headline news of the period. The production is a warm reminiscence and a harrowing reminder of a time when the whole world seemed upside down.

Award winning artists David zum Brunnen and Serena Ebhardt fill the stage with wartime memories and tunes. Actual veterans stories create a sentimental journey back through the days when blackouts and rationing were a small sacrifice in order to obtain freedom. A time when Rosie the Riveter discovered she could take care of herself; a time when African-Americans, who were segregated at home, integrated abroad to became heroes; and when a man's only wish was to be home for Christmas.  WAR BONDS: The Songs and Letters of World War II explores the dark side of war and the strange juxtaposition of the lighthearted, popular tunes of the time.  Musical Director, Julie Florin recreates a nostalgic score of familiar tunes.   Twenty-two songs of the period lift the mood -- even as the atrocities of war are described. This family show allows the "greatest generation" to celebrate, as the next "greatest generation" contemplates.


*About American Public Television (APT)

With more than 10,000 hours of programming in its library, American Public Television (APT) has been a prime source of programming for the nation’s public television stations for 47 years, distributing more than 300 new program titles per year. APT milestones include distribution of the first HD series on public television and the 2006 launch of Create – the TV channel featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming. Known for its leadership in identifying innovative, worthwhile and viewer-friendly programming, APT has established a tradition of providing public television stations with program choices that strengthen and customize their schedules, such as Carreras Domingo Pavarotti in Concert, Winged Migration, Battlefield Britain, Globe Trekker, Rick Steves' Europe, Great Museums, Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way, America's Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Broadway: The Golden Age, Lidia's Family Table, California Dreamin’ – The Songs of The Mamas & the Papas, Rosemary and Thyme, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, The Big Comfy Couch, Monarchy With David Starkey, and other prominent documentaries, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies.





Raleigh News and Observer
Actor's WWII project expands
November 29, 2007
BY ORLA SWIFT, Staff Writer

David zum Brunnen's intentions were simple and personal when he asked his father to talk on videotape about his experiences in World War II. But that impetus has led to ever bigger developments for the Apex actor. The interview sparked a touring performance by zum Brunnen and his wife, Serena Ebhardt, called "War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II."

The tour hit big, bringing the pair to schools, theaters and other venues across the nation, with bookings into 2009.

Then UNC-TV caught the fever and filmed the show earlier this year. It will premiere at 9 p.m. Dec. 10. UNC-TV plans to distribute the program nationally and to air it over the next year. It fits in with UNC-TV's "North Carolina World War II Experience" project (www.unctv.org/WWII), which was spurred by Ken Burns' World War II documentary "The War" and includes local oral histories.

zum Brunnen and Ebhardt will also sell a DVD version through their theater company, EbzB Productions.

zum Brunnen, who grew up in Salisbury, says his dad always spoke openly about his World War II experiences. But before the video interview, he had been reluctant to discuss his recollections of liberating three small concentration camps in Germany. Chester zum Brunnen was a private first class in the 28th Infantry, 8th Army. He died in 2000. But in letters to his parents, Chester zum Brunnen freely expressed his anger at what he found. One of those letters became a seed for "War Bonds," which also includes popular wartime-era songs such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "As Time Goes By" and the tear-jerker "When the Lights Go On Again."

Musical director Julie Florin accompanies the duo live on piano, sometimes leading a five-piece band. The instrumental music for the TV version was prerecorded. Veterans are always eager to talk to the pair after their shows, zum Brunnen says. And he also incorporates letters submitted at each tour stop, which heightens the impact for audience
and actors alike. One such letter, from a paratrooper, was particularly poignant, he says. "The reason why he was writing the letter was he wanted people to have a goodbye letter in case he didn't make it," he says. "And as I'm reading this letter, I'm realizing that the reason why I had this letter was because the man had not made it. Believe you me, it was a pretty tough moment for everyone on stage."

"War Bonds" has spurred audience members to record their own wartime oral histories, zum Brunnen says. And he and Ebhardt helped a group of history, drama and choral students at an Edenton high school to create a production based on students' interviews with Vietnam War veterans. "That's how this project has germinated little seeds elsewhere," he says.


Pam Stone Show

Listen to  Celebrity Pam Stone's Review of War Bonds  on 107.9 fm Radio
THE PAM STONE SHOW - WAR BONDS EBZB INTERVIEW 11/11/06 (mp3)

The Pam Stone Show 107.9 The Link



Asheville Citizen-Times

"WAR BONDS" BY EBZB PRODUCTIONS

AT NC STAGE COMPANY 
by  Jim Cavener, Correspondent
 
Chapel Hill's EBZB Productions' original work, "War  Bonds," is a charming, nostalgia-ridden period musical revue, with the  period being World War Two, the early 1940s in the good ole' USA. There is  patriotism and nationalism galore, but never maudlin, nor gross. The script's  emphasis on basic humanity and the horror of it all over-rules our  national penchant for glorifying war.

Serena Ebhardt and David zum Brunnen are the  quality couple who create such works as last year's Stoneleaf one-man-show  submission, "Via Dolorosa" -- one of the highlights of that season. This new  production is more easy-going, with lots of memory-jogs from the likes of Bing  Crosby, Frances Langford, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, Glenn Miller, Bob  Hope, and the Andrew Sisters. If those names ring your bell this is a show you'd  love.

Ebhardt is a diminutive dynamo, mother of a  four-year old, possessor of a clear, bright and compelling soprano and the most  riveting eyes on the recent stage. Her eye contact with the audience is lovely  to look at and helps hold attention to the splendid stage-craft being displayed  by both actors in this often-poignant pageant of music and words. This duo knows  the twists and turns. The selection of writings and the connecting narrative are  a wonder to see and hear.

zum Brunnen has collected and reads actual  historical documents from the
era, ranging from the words of Franklin Roosevelt  to zum Brunnen's late father, Chester, a WWII veteran. The personal letters --  many from the archive of Rutgers University's oral history collection -- are the  glue that hold together more than a score of familiar tunes. Anyone over 60  will know the majority of these, ranging from "Sentimental Journey," "White  Cliffs of Dover" and "One Meatball" to "I'll Get By."  They open and close the  show with "Love Letters Straight from the Heart" by Heyman and Young. One of the  most memorable tunes is "I'll be Seeing You" by Sammy Fain.

Wardrobe selections are so dated and timely, down to Ebhardt's dark stocking seam on the back of her legs. Even accompanists  Julie Florin and Diane Petteway wear period suits and hats, adding accuracy  to the trip down memory lane. Ebhardt makes frequent forays into the audience to  sit on laps and tease the troops. A good time is had by all.


Quotes

"Your Marlene Dietrich was better than the original!"


Patron,
Freedom Hall,
Forest Park, IL


"War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II will leave your audience with smiles and tears. It's  well crafted work by two of the best artists in the business.  Our audiences left the show smiling and asking when would EbzB return!"  

Jane Lonon
Presenter
Ashe Arts Council, NC


"Serena Ebhardt's rendition of Marlene Dietrich singing Lili Marlene brought the house down... this husband and wife team re-created those times with consummate skill.... the program moved at a rapid clip, keeping the audience well-entertained.  Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring, and timely performance."

John Caroll Gambrell, for the Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail


"In a word, the show was spectacular!  War Bonds was the perfect blend of music, headline news, and nostalgic World War II stories.  Sitting in front of us was a WWII veteran and his wife.  Both were very moved by your performance that clearly brought back to them many WWII memories.  Thanks again for such a memorable and enjoyable evening."

John and Cindy Micavich, Westford, Mass.
Patrons,  Deertrees Theatre
Harrison, Maine


"Still getting feedback from your show, 'Spectacular!' being the latest.  It's a pleasure just to watch you both, and your material's top rate, too.  Do you ever tire of compliments?  It was such a fun evening."

Susan Opasik
Blake Library Performance Series
Martin Co. Libraries, Stuart, FL


"Dear David and Serena- Thank you so much for such a wonderful performance. In carpool line I heard many of the kids talking about the performance and about World War II.  I think you really got many of them thinking. I personally, really loved the music. It was wonderful. I was also very moved by many of the stories. The letters really make it so personal...Again, thank you so much for bringing a new appreciation of that time to our students and staff.  If you ever need a reference I would be glad to to talk to anyone about how professional, educational and entertaining you were."

Elizabeth Iaquinta

St Raphael's School
Raleigh, NC


Dear David, Serena and Julie,
 
Thank you so much for the two fabulous shows.  The high school students have been raving about it--even some students who were forced to leave a carpentry project to come.  The Coordinator of Community Schools asked me what kind of program we had because those boys who moaned and groaned about having to come to the assembly yesterday went back to class all excited and talking about the show.  They must have been very enthusiastic. The music, the songs, the scripting, the acting all fit together so beautifully and all was so exceptionally well done.  Very memorable! We're already looking forward to the shows next December.  My assistant, Steve Clobridge, sends his regards, too.  In addition to the complements on your shows that he delivered in person, he commented to me what nice people you are.  I agree wholeheartedly.  Thanks again. 

Jenny Johnson
Swain County Center for the Arts
Bryson City, NC
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