It’s 1996, Brett Favre is at the top of his game, the Green Bay Packers are making a run for the Super Bowl, and three sisters learn only one of them will inherit their father’s season tickets. That’s the elevator pitch for a musical written by homegrown playwright Matt Zembrowski. “There’s tons of nostalgia,” Zembrowski says. “Lots of people have really strong memories from those years.”
Dad’s Season Tickets is the third show Zembrowski has written for the Northern Sky Theater in Door County and was an immediate hit, selling out shows night after night during its premiere season. The piece is a celebration of Green Bay cheeseheads and Wisconsin culture, which is part of the popularity. And while the story has plenty of Lambeau trivia to go around, at its heart, it’s a family drama. Zembrowski hopes audience members can see a bit of themselves – or at least someone they know – in the archetypal Wisconsin characters he created.
The comedy was inspired in part by Shakespeare’s King Lear, and also by Zembrowski’s father-in-law Don Nappe, who had a big love for the Packers and season tickets to see the games. Nappe died last winter but was able to see the production while it was running in Door County. “He was so tickled that this show happened,” Zembrowski says.
Now the musical is helping Zembrowski achieve a lifelong dream of bringing his work to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where it will launch the 2021-22 season in the Stackner Cabaret from Oct. 29-Jan. 2. “It’s my love letter to Wisconsin,” he says.