Fan fervor and the Packers season ticket waiting list

In Frank and Jane Martucci’s California home is a framed letter from June 2018 that says this:

“Your name has been added to our waiting list for 4 tickets and your priority number is 134,865. You will be notified by mail, as tickets become available.”

Jane, a De Pere native, realizes she’s unlikely to become a Green Bay Packers season ticket holder during her lifetime. That doesn’t seem to douse her enthusiasm: Even family dog Stanley gets dressed in green and gold on game day. Who cares that Lambeau Field is at least 2,100 miles away?

Packer backing brings out the passionate, and the dream of season tickets is for the patient. Three quick facts:

A whopping 99.4% renewed their game tickets before the start of this NFL season.

The Packers’ sell-out of season tickets began in 1960 and hasn’t relented.

No other pro football team has a longer waiting list for season tickets.

About 137,000 are on the ticket wait list, says Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey, and a measly 1,682 tickets went to 548 new accounts this year. Eleven ticket office employees handle season ticket requests and issues, which can get thorny.

Rules about who can take your place on the waiting list – or be transferred your tickets – are specific and detailed. That heightens the possibility for family scuffles to ensue and escalate because of fan fervor and the reality that scarcity adds value way beyond a ticket’s price.

New at Northern Sky Theater in Door County is a musical comedy that explains all of this in over-the-top detail. “Dad’s Season Tickets,” by Matt Zembrowski of West Allis, pits sister against sister as their widower father begins to get his affairs in order.

Translation: He needs to decide who will inherit his Packer tickets. They can’t go to more than one relative.

What we have is a cultural statement that is deep with blind loyalty, obsession and conniving strategy. Characters are humorously – some say painfully – accurate composites. We see embellished bits of family, co-workers, friends and neighbors – enough to whoop (or wince).

Cornball comedy? Check. Learn what football and love have in common. Witness the withdrawal of living through a bye week.

Predictable stereotypes? Sure. Expect green and gold on everything, Christmas tree to diaper bag. See how superstition matters, be it wearing the same filthy jersey for luck or leading cult-like “little Bart” pre-game rituals.

Northern Sky introduces this production as a contemporary spin on “King Lear,” but I simply kept thinking about “Guys on Ice,” the 1998 folksy ode to ice fishing and all of its endearing quirks. American Folklore Theatre (Northern Sky’s former name) teamed with Milwaukee Repertory Theater on that production, which remains on the performance circuit, especially when temps plummet.

This is a theater company whose specialty is lighthearted self-examination, a magnified mix of humor and schmaltz. It’s a look in the mirror, for better or worse, for laughs and for the record.

The production run for “Dad’s Season Tickets” already has been extended to Oct. 26, and it christens Northern Sky’s sleek, new theater on 40 acres at 9058 County A, Fish Creek. A grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation helps fund the play.

Tickets are $35, less for students and ages 12 or younger. northernskytheater.com

Northern Sky’s summer performance space remains outdoors at Peninsula State Park and is undergoing an upgrade in infrastructure.

Packer tickets end up in estate plans and divorce decrees because the rules are tight about how to transfer tickets. For example:

Tickets can be willed to a blood relative (as defined by the Green Bay Packers) but not to a friend.

If a ticketholder dies without a will, the surviving spouse has first dibs on the tickets.

Next in line: surviving children. If they can’t agree which one of them should get the tickets, the tickets revert to the Packers.

Upon divorce or separation, the Packers will honor a stipulation authorizing retention or transfer of tickets to one or both of the parties.

Read more at packers.com/tickets (go to “season tickets”).

For “Guys on Ice” fans: The zany comedic musical comes to the Barrymore Theater, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison, on Dec. 26-31. Tickets are $32. barrymorelive.com

Another funny, freewheeling production in Door County is “George Washington’s Teeth,” a Peninsula Players Theater endeavor that ends Oct. 20. The performance company, in its 84th year, is the nation’s oldest professional resident summer theater.

This final play of the season is a new comedy with a bite of reality about the history we choose to save and share. Playwright Mark St. Germain introduces a beleaguered, small-town museum with a dwindling number of caretakers.

Unexpected twists and slapstick predicaments explain how and why the musty repository survives instead of vanishes.

Ticket prices are $40 to $49. The waterfront site, where sunsets take a leading role too, is 16 acres and at 4351 Peninsula Players Rd., Fish Creek. peninsulaplayers.com