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Reviews and News

The latest review of SWING is by Yahoo! Contributor Mary Beth Magee.

If you have Amazon Prime you can now 'borrow' the Kindle version of SWING for FREE!

Here's another book review, by Scott Eyman of the Palm Beach Post.  

The list of positive reviews for SWING continues:

I highly recommend this book. I usually listen to audio books, but this is one book in print that I couldn't put down. Don't even think about it. Just read it! This is a good one.  

"SWING" is a great read, and a more than impressive, heartfelt, first novel from this author. Bravo!  

A great read about perseverance and acceptance and a trip to the world of Swing.

Here is my recommendation...buy it for your IPad or eReader, download some Louis Prima songs, put your earphones in, turn up the volume and enjoy it.

Alan Gerstel's Blog
headshot of Alan Gerstel, author


Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

It is also available as an ebook.


Entries in "Lilies of the Field" (1)


Sidney Poitier Up Close and Personal

My previous post discussed my meeting with Bill Cosby while I was on tour with the musical "No Strings" starring Diahann Carroll during the summer of 1964.

A few weeks after being entertained my Mr. Cosby, I was supervising the "strike" of the sets for "No Strings" at Shady Grove Music Fair just outside of Washington, D.C.  Shady Grove was a tent theatre in the round that seated several thousand people.  I was standing about half-way up an aisle and shouting out orders to the stagehands who were dismantling "set pieces" and packing them in the truck to be driven to the next theatre in our schedule.

As I was focusing on the scenery, I became aware that someone was standing alongside me.  I looked to my left... and then looked up to note this gentleman's face who stood much taller than me at 6' 2".  It was Sidney Poitier!!!  As was the case with Bill Cosby, Mr. Poitier was there to take Ms. Carroll to dinner after the show... and he was passing time as he waited for her.

I was AGOG!!!  Sidney Poitier had just won an Academy Award for "Lilies of the Field."  I was in the presence of this great actor, a veritable God-like figure to me and to legions of fans, and I was unable to formulate a coherent sentence.  I wanted to heap praise on him and ask him about his incredible talent, but I was reduced to jello.

No problem.  Mr. Poitier was truly fascinated by what I was doing and he began asking me questions about how we created the scenery and moved it about the stage at the right times, and how I coordinated all the tricky scene changes.  Here was this magnificent award-winning actor quizzing ME about MY job!!  What a turnabout!!  What an exciting moment!!  I answered his questions over and over again and he seemed genuinely interested in everything I told him.  But then Miss Carroll was ready for dinner and the two of them headed out, but not before Mr. Poitier thanked me for educating him about the backstage workings of live theatre.