Matt has been a dear friend of mine since my days at Cardinal Stritch University where we met through the liturgical music ministry. Matt handled the music for church on Sunday’s and during my freshman year, I got involved with playing guitar at mass as well as helping Matt to pick the music used at church each Sunday. As the years went on, our friendship continued to grow and the rest is history.
My favorite story about Matt was when Tyler and I were planning our wedding. I told Tyler from the beginning of the planning that I wanted to have Matt play piano for our wedding and Tyler had no objections. I’m pretty sure after Tyler saw Matt’s Bing Crosby Christmas production there was no question in his mind that Matt was the right man for the job. So, we had Matt and his wife Lori over for dinner to ask them if they would play and sing at our wedding and of course, they said yes. But for those of you who don’t know Matt, he said yes in the most typical Matt Zembrowski fashion. I believe the exact words were, “I would have been a little offended if you didn’t ask me to play at your wedding”. That’s how you truly know you are good friends with someone.
All of this is to say, people will tell you they have talented friends and it is nice of them to be so supportive of those friends. But, I will tell you, and Tyler will attest, that our friend Matt Zembrowski is REALLY talented.
Post-Stritch, Matt’s creative juices were really flowing. Not only did he and his wife Lori do tons of shows but Matt created a Bing Crosby inspired Christmas production, and his first musical Doctor! Doctor! The reason I say Matt is REALLY talented is that he wrote the music, book, AND lyrics for this show. A triple threat! The show only ran a couple of days a week at Northern Sky so, unfortunately, Tyler and I did not get a chance to see it (dang conventional jobs…good thing we don’t have that problem anymore!) but we do have a copy of the soundtrack and it is outstanding.
However, Matt didn’t stop at Doctor! Doctor! He started working on this new show entitled Dad’s Season Tickets. Last fall, he started working with Northern Sky Theater again. He did readthroughs and the show started gaining momentum and buzz. Matt was putting up the finishing touches on the show when his daughter Kathryn was born this March and I’ll tell you, dad’s don’t get enough credit. Kudos to Matt for polishing his second musical on little sleep.
Dad’s Season Tickets is the most Wisconsin musical I’ve ever seen. It is the story of the Kosinski family and their Packer season tickets. Frank must decide which of his three-daughters is most deserving of inheriting his tickets. Daughters Cordy, Rhonda, and Gabby each have their own unique storyline that develops throughout the course of the show.
Cordy is applying to colleges all over the country in an attempt to get as far away from her family as possible as the tensions between her older sisters Rhonda and Gabby continue to grow and intensify after the passing of their mother. Rhonda lets her anger and jealousy towards her sister Gabby drive her crazy. Never having been a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, she could honestly care less about inheriting the tickets but her husband Ralph loves football (almost) as much as he loves Rhonda. This fact, coupled with her anger and jealousy towards Gabby entices her to learn everything she can from Ralph about the Packers in an effort to convince her dad that she is the rightful heir to the tickets. Gabby has always watched the games with dad on Sunday since she was a little girl. She’ll do anything it takes to inherit the tickets. Chaos ensues when the family finds out that Gabby’s husband Edgar is *gasp* a Minnesota Vikings fan!
Each storyline of the daughters, the husbands, and their father are perfectly unique on their owns but tie together so well. The show is full of catchy tunes, hilarious Packers (and Wisconsin) humor, an amazingly versatile set, and the most 90’s Packers wardrobe you have ever seen. The Lambeau Field scoreboard changes throughout the show to correspond with exactly what is happening. The show not only pays homage to the rich history and tradition of the Green Bay Packers but it is a great portrait of the importance of family, even when things get a bit chaotic and drive us crazy.
Dad’s Season Tickets sold out a total of 37 times during its eight-week run at Northern Sky Theater this fall, so I’m confident this isn’t the last we will see of this show. It is definitely a must-see if you have the opportunity in the future. It was so well done and is the type of show that will stand the test of time.
Northern Sky Theater will be announcing its 2020 Season in January 2020. Stay tuned to see what’s coming and be sure to keep an eye out for the next work from my good friend, Matt Zembrowski.
Here are some photos from the show courtesy of Northern Sky Theater. 📸 Photo credit: Len Villano