When Alice K. Sylvester of Arlington Heights was looking for a show to attend with her 89-year-old father, Robert Sylvester, she booked tickets to "Sisters of Swing," hoping that the musical at Pheasant Run in St. Charles celebrating the lives and music of the famed Andrews Sisters would bring him some much-needed cheer.
"Ever since our mom passed away two years ago, it's been difficult for me and my siblings to find things that entertain him," she said. "After sitting in the front row and enjoying the performance, my father asked me to get tickets for other members of my family. He wanted everyone to see it with him."
Robert Sylvester never did get a chance to see the sisters perform live, but he did have a chance encounter with them.
"This brought back memories of my best friend, Jimmy Call, and I meeting the Andrews Sisters and drinking with them at the Brass Rail while my sister and friend June were sitting in the Chicago Theater waiting for them to perform," Robert Sylvester said.
Alice Sylvester proceeded to purchase additional tickets to three more dates of "Sisters of Swing."
"I loved the whole production of Sisters of Swing -- the music, the actors, everything. It brings back memories," said Robert. "During World War II, everyone pulled together -- there was a vitality -- a frenzy or whatever it was -- to the times. And the play captures that. After the war, everyone went back to being just about themselves."
Alice Sylvester shared his story with Fox Valley Repertory, the resident theater company that was putting on the show at Pheasant Run. Arrangements were made for the cast members to personally recognize him, share his story with the audience, and take photos afterward. Robert Sylvester brought each actress a bouquet of flowers.
"Hearing this story was truly inspiring to us here at Fox Valley Rep," said Artistic Director John Gawlik. "Our mission is all about getting our patrons to laugh, reflect, and reconnect to moments in their own life -- and this touching story makes us feel that we are fulfilling this."
The play, whose cast featured Kellie Cundiff, David Hathway, Carol Rose and St. Charles native Brittany Stock, closed July 27.
For information on the company and future productions, go to www.foxvalleyrep.org.