Widgets The Swingles' Dramatic Developments: April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Profoundly moving

I'm weeping like a blubbering idiot! I just finished reading Mac Nelson's Memoirs of a Hollywood Adventure. The last time I wept this hard while reading something it was when I read the same conclusion to Mac's manuscript before it went to press. That was when I invited him to be a master class instructor at the MasterWorks Festival this summer.

I met Mac when I first moved to New York City. The stories in his book are the ones that inspired me as I was first starting out as a professional actor. Mac's the best story teller I've ever heard, and every time I introduce someone to Mac I beg him to tell one story after the next. Now they're all (well most of them are) in this fabulous book, and Mac's writing is even better than his story-telling! I found myself laughing or crying on almost every page.

For those of you who are coming to MasterWorks this summer, I urge you to read Mac's book before you arrive on campus, so that the time he spends with you will be more meaningful. Also, the book has many more insights into the craft, business and pitfalls of surviving as a professional actor than Mac will have time to share with us at the Festival.

By the way, MasterWits '09, you're mentioned on page 9.


Our church, Westchester Chapel, has been called to fast on Thursdays as we seek the Lord for spiritual, numerical and financial growth for the church. Our pattern is to break our fast together at Thirst.

A new believer asked why and how we should fast, which are excellent questions!

I found a great article by the late Dr. Bill Bright, who founded Campus Crusade for Christ: Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer. He provides insights into the Biblical call to fasting, types of people who should not fast, and nutritional considerations.

I also highly recommend Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (who used to pastor the church I attended in college). He deals with the full spectrum of spiritual disciplines, and has an excellent chapter dedicated to fasting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New York Times reviews my friend's play

My friend David Sanborn got a great review in today's New York Times!
Theater Review - 'King David' - At the Promise Theater, a One-Man Biblical Musical

They even mentioned Judah Ben Hur coming to Broadway in 2010!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The 39 Steps

Joyce and I were delighted by Broadway's The 39 Steps. It was four actors taking on 150 roles: my kind of play!

When I saw it in London's West End I bought a balcony seat, but saw an empty seat on the second row, center. At intermission I high-tailed it for the seat and made it before any others who wished to "upgrade." I relaxed throughout the intermission, but just as they were dimming the lights, the ticket holder for my seat was waiving her stub at me. I didn't have time to make it back to my seat in the balcony without missing something, so I grabbed the first free seat I saw. Unfortunately it was well under the balcony. This didn't prove to be problematic until the finale in which half of the action took place out of sight!

So I was delighted to see on Broadway the fun business that had been making people howl on the West End! When you book tickets, make sure you can see the whole stage.

For more on the play, visit my friends' reviews:

Paul Crozby: 'The 39 Steps' -- Broadway Review
Retta Blaney: The 39 Steps (This review was before the play moved to The Helen Hayes Theatre, where it will play through Sept 6)

You can watch the brilliant Hitchcock film that inspired the play for free on, but you'll miss the insightful commentary by Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane on the DVD.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

George Fox Journal

The journal for my alma mater, George Fox University, just ran an article on me: A Class Act.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hidden Truths

Mark Chang, who was one of the creators of Olympic Hero in China, our documentary on Eric Liddell, has created a seven minute film, which has been selected for competition.

It's a charming little film, which is a tribute to growing religious freedom in China.

To vote for it, visit, sign up, search for "Hidden Truths", and before you watch it, click on "Vote Now" in the left column. You'll also need to vote for four other films for it to count.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chasing Manet

I just saw Chasing Manet by Tina Howe. I took playwrighting from Tina while working on my masters in theatre at Hunter College in the late '90's. Tina was a delight. She'd already been nominated for the Tony, Obie, Pulitzer, etc., etc., but she never intimidated us. She was such fun--as is Chasing Manet.

I laughed; I wept; my spirit soared! My friend, Lauren Yarger, and I left so uplifted and energized. Lauren had heard Tina speak, saying that she wanted this play to fill a void: There are so few plays that address the needs of people in their later years. The play certainly addresses those needs, but as a fellow still in his 30s (for another five weeks), I was inspired! I came away so joy and hope-filled.

Lauren got me into the show because she's an Outer-Circle critic. Here's a link to her piece: Review: Chasing Manet.

Lauren and I have a common friend who also reviewed the play:

Retta Blaney at

You should know there's quite a bit of language and sexual innuendo, though the later is there to highlight the fact that we keep our libido to the end.

Though she wrote Skin Deep in 2007, the most recent of Tina's published plays is Pride's Crossing, for which she was a finalist for a Pulitzer for the second time. Among her many other awards are an Obie for Distinguished playwriting, a Tony nomination for best Play, an Outer Circle Critics Award, a Rockefeller Grant, two N.E.A. Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the Sidney Kingsley Award, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, two honorary degrees and the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A note from Joyce

Thanks to all of you who were praying for me while I was taking the National Counselor Exam on Sat., April 18. I felt the peace and feel very good about the test in general. I also feel "free" of school after three years, with no major assignments and only two weeks left to go.
Thank you all,
Joyce Swingle

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big test tomorrow

We're in Nyack, NY, for Joyce's Nat'l Counseling Exam tomorrow. Please lift her up as she takes it from 9-1 EST.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tonight on FOX 10 News

The MC for the Christopher Awards is Ernie Anastos, who said they'll be featured tonight on FOX 10 News.

Monday, April 13, 2009

May Easter continue!

More post-midnight Easter lights!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's done!

My friends' son, who's 21 months old, saw our cross and said, "Cross! It's done."


Happy Easter, everyone! We were delighted to find the Empire State Building still lit after its traditional midnight shutoff.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Both churches had to put out extra chairs for the Good Friday services in which I performed yesterday ( ).

At Bronx Bethany, where the service was designed to match the three hours in which Jesus hung on the cross, there were about 700 in attandance. The sanctuary only held 400, so the rest were watching on monitors downstairs or listening from outside. As a guest preacher said, it was "thumpin'!"

My favorite moment was when I was walking down a stairway when a little boy said, "You were Jesus!" I asked him and his four young friends if they had a relationship with Jesus. they said they didn't, so we took care of that on the spot...well, on the stairs.

If you've never committed your life to the Lord, this weekend is a great time to accept the free gift of Salvation that the Lord paid for so dearly: .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter Weekend

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Give a great birthday present!

I help people sponsor kids through Compassion, but you don't need to wait until a performance! Wish this child "Happy Birthday" with a sponsorship!

To find out more about my connection to Compassion and/or to select a child by age, gender and/or region, click here.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Israel '99

This photo is of Joyce and I in Bethlahem. I found it while going through photos from our trips to Israel while getting the slides ready for Journey to the Garden on Good Friday ( I shared links to the pictures from our 2005 trip on this blog, but the first trip was in 1999. Here's a link to those photos: Israel '99.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy Palm Sunday!

..from the lobby of Manhattan Plaza.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Streets of New York

You never know what you'll see!

Two Good Friday Offerings

On Good Friday I'll be performing two works in two different churches near NYC.
At noon I'll be performing Journey to the Garden at Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene. The drama invites each audience member to become a disciple and travel with Jesus from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane and finally to Golgotha. Slides from Israel of the actual places these events are believed to have taken place are the backdrop of the greatest story ever told.

At 7pm, I'll portray the title role in Ragman at Westchester Chapel. For over 20 years Walter Wangerin's Ragman has been touching hearts with a message of healing and Hope.

The play has been translated into Spanish by Susan Blish and will be performed in both languages simultaneously.

Artwork from Hong Kong

From Artwork from Hong Kong

The last time I was in Hong Kong (08/08) I performed and taught at the International Christian School. Erik Melver's middle school class created artwork to commemorate the occasion. Visit the album to see more.