They say it's God, family, and the Green Bay Packers. But not always necessarily in that order. And a local play production called "Dad's Season Tickets" is putting that theory to the test.
In Wisconsin, the Packers are considered art.
"Packers season tickets, they are such a tradition," Dad's Season Tickets Creator/Author Matt Zembrowski says. "It really is more than just tickets to a sporting event. People have been doing this for decades and decades."
Matt Zembrowski started writing Dad's Season Tickets in 2016. Five years later? It's a hit play at the Milwaukee Rep's Stackner Cabaret.
"But it wasn't until we first started doing read-throughs for the public that people started coming up to me and saying, 'hey, this is my family! You told my family story.' There's a song in the show called, 'When the Packers play, you put your troubles away,'" Zembrowski says. "And it's really the only time that this family gets along. And people see that and go, 'I do not talk to my brother. Or I don't talk to my aunt. Or whoever, six days of the week. But we will call each other on Packers game day, and we'll talk about the game.'"
The play is set 25 years ago, during the Super Bowl-winning season of 1996.
"It's in this weird spot where it's nostalgic, but it is just immediate enough that most of the guys on that team are still around. And some of them still look like they could still play," Zembrowski says.
The show has a little something for everyone.
"We can all forget those terrible teams," the cast sings.
"Every time you reference someone like Dan Devine, it gets a laugh, because everybody knows Dan Devine and has an opinion about him," Zembrowski says. "Or Lindy Infante. He's mentioned in the show twice. And everyone goes, 'haha, I remember Lindy Infante!' It's just, it's the things that are universal to Packers fans and people from Wisconsin that even if you don't follow the team? They're at least somewhere in your subconscious."
"Life is too short to like close yourself off to anything that could bring you enjoyment," Zembrowski says. "So I wrote it for people who may not voluntarily go to the theater, because there's enough football in there that they're going to get. And I made it just so that you can come to this show together coming from either world. Sports or theater, and find something that you're going to enjoy in it."
The play runs in downtown Milwaukee through January 2nd. Tuesday through Sunday. With double showings, on weekends.