Winner: Best Biographical Show – United Solo Festival, 2016 in NYC
Our Creative Team
Carol Swarbrick firmly believes she is one of the most fortunate performers ever! For the past 4+ decades, she has made her living principally by performing. Most of her work has been on Musical Theatre stages around the world, including 4 Broadway shows thus far. She has also starred in television series and specials, Movies of the Week and feature films. She has been seen in many commercials, selling items from air fresheners to cereals to antacids. Concerts and cruise ships have offered her opportunities and she was thrilled to be a part of a Steven Sondheim Tribute with The Seattle Symphony conducted by Marvin Hamlisch!
Several years ago, her agent suggested that she look into a biographical one-person show. It was after a lot of women were considered that she lighted upon Lillian Carter. The more Carol learned about this woman, the more Miss Lillian’s story resonated with her. One fortuitous event after another led Ms. Swarbrick and her husband, Jim Dries, to an invitation from Jimmy Carter to visit Plains and “meet more of the family.” Eagerly, the invitation was accepted. Since then, there have been more than a handful of additional meetings with Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter, each clarifying and adding the stories that are told in More Than A President’s Mother – The Lillian Carter Story.
The title of the play came about when the creative team realized that, though people who recognize Miss Lillian’s name do so because she was Jimmy’s mother, she lived fully, freely and generously, taking on many more roles than that of a mother, and living a life in service.
In addition to her performing, Ms. Swarbrick has authored a book of her inspiring essays, It Occurred To Me, and has co-authored the soon-to-be-released story of her romance with husband, Jim Dries.
Jim Dries is a retired educator, having taught classes from elementary school through college. After graduation from the University of South Dakota, he served two years in the Peace Corps in the Philippines. He has also taught in Hawaii, New York, and Nepal. Jim received his Master’s Degree at the University of Hawaii as an East-West Center Grantee. He was also a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. He loves travel and adventure. Jim has traveled around the world three times, visiting many countries of the world on those and other trips. He has also climbed mountains in New Zealand and trekked to the base camps of the world’s first and third highest mountains. He visited gorillas in the wild in both Uganda and Rwanda. In addition to his educational work, both academic and from the classroom of life, he has had various jobs which bring another dimension to his writing, directing and acting. For example, he has been employed as a police officer, a construction worker, a cameraman for a commercial television station, a desk attendant at an art center, an orderly in a mental ward of a private hospital, an activities director, a coach and a travel host for sports enthusiasts. He has acted from an early age and within the last few years he has also directed (and continues to act), around the country. His direction for the original play The Last Lifeboat won a local directing award.
Jim has not only co-authored this play but has also written a novel and is working on a second one as well as having co-authored a true romance with his wife, Carol Swarbrick Dries, (their story). He is a family man and has three married children and seven grandchildren. When not traveling, Jim can be found either in his home with Carol in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State or at their other home in Florida.
Steven Ullman has long been producing and directing theatre. Recently, he produced and directed the new one-woman show, Tammy Faye Tweets starring Charlene Tilton. In the Fall of 2015, Steven produced and directed A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher, the first play ever performed in Paris about Pablo Picasso, presented in both English and French (on different nights but with the same cast) which garnered all rave reviews. He produced the Off-Broadway World Premiere of Falling For Eve, a musical written by Joe DiPietro, Bret Simmons, and David Howard. In Chicago, Mr. Ullman produced the World Premiere of Saturday Night Live’s Nora Dunn’s second one-woman show, Mythical Proportions. Previously, Steven produced Small Prey, a one-woman show also written and performed by Nora Dunn that ran nearly a year.
During his ten-year tenure as Producing Artistic Director of the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities (1996-2005), Steven became the only producer in Los Angeles to win the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Musical (Large Theatre) three times in four years: West Side Story (1999), Dreamgirls (2000), and Crazy For You (2002). He was also nominated for Best Musical for Titanic (2001), Ragtime (2003), and Forever Plaid (2004).
Steven’s career as an independent producer includes many highlights; among them is the West Coast Premiere of David Rabe’s Hurlyburly at the Westwood Playhouse. The production, directed by the playwright, starred Sean Penn, Danny Aiello, Mare Winningham, Suzy Amis and Michael Lerner. He produced Loose Lips, directed by Martin Charnin starring Robert Morse, Fred Savage and Steve Landesberg. In San Francisco, he produced several shows, including the six-year run of Greater Tuna, in which the late Michael Jeter appeared for six months, and The Foreigner starring Imogene Coca, Rene Auberjonois and Charlene Tilton. Ullman produced and directed the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright’s first play, The Stonewater Rapture, which won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. He produced the National Tour of Some Like It Cole!, a Cole Porter musical revue, for five years. Steven was the General/Company Manager for the long-running hit, Tamara, in Los Angeles, Beehive in Las Vegas, and many others.