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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 Richard Burton (1)


It pays to be nice!


Back in my college days at Boston University, I had the opportunity to see dozens of Broadway shows that tested their audience appeal in Boston before heading to the bright lights of New York.

One night, I bought a single ticket for Richard Burton’s “Hamlet” which was directed by Sir John Gielgud.  The seat was on the very left side of the balcony in the second row behind an aisle that ran from side to side.  A pretty crummy seat, but I didn’t really care.  I just wanted to see what Richard Burton was going to do with the Shakespearean classic.

About 15 minutes before “curtain”, the usher came over and asked if I wouldn’t mind trading seats with one of two girls standing nearby.  She had a ticket for the identical seat on the very right side of the balcony.  Her friend had the seat next to mine, and by switching, the girls could sit together.  It was no a big deal.  I was nice.  I agreed to relocate.

So I was now sitting one seat in from the right aisle and one row up from the cross aisle.  A man and woman sat in front of me with a large “picture” program on their laps.  The seat to their right… diagonally one row down from me… was empty…. until the house lights dimmed and I made out a figure coming from a nearby curtained arch.  The man sat down in the near darkness and took out a small notepad and pen.

It was Sir John Gielgud.

I had seen Sir John perform in “School for Scandal” at a nearby theatre the year before and, as an acting student, was gaga over the legendary actor.  I confess I watched him during the show as much as I looked at the stage.  I spotted him taking notes.  “I wonder what flaw piqued his interest,” I would ask myself each time Sir John began to scribble.

At intermission, I walked through the curtained arch to a lounge area where a number of people were chatting amongst themselves.  In one corner, I saw Sir John… unrecognized and alone.

I was incredibly intimidated but I managed to walk over to Sir John and introduce myself as a Theatre student at Boston University.  Then I began gushing over Sir John’s considerable talents.  I don’t remember quite what I said, but he referred to me as "Dear boy" and tolerated me as well as he could.  Exhilarated and quite embarrassed, I finally bowed off and returned to my seat.

At the end of the show, after the curtain calls, just as the house lights were coming up, the man and woman in front of me were looking through their picture program.  Simultaneously, they saw Sir John’s picture… and realized they had been sitting next to the Knighted actor/director all evening.  In unison, their heads snapped to the right!  But… poof… just like a magician in a disappearing act... Sir John Gielgud was gone!