Book and Lyrics by Frederick Heide & Lee Becker
Music by Frederick Heide
Additional Music by James Kaplan
The World’s First Sci-Fi Football Musical!
It’s 1953 – the Cold War is on, the Green Bay Packers are having their worst season ever, and flying saucers have been spotted over Northeastern Wisconsin. Peggy, an idealistic farm girl and budding scientist, hopes these celestial visitors will bring a message of peace for the Earth. Then her dad, Harvey, announces they actually want him, the world’s biggest Packer fan, to help defeat Space Bears in an interplanetary war. Marge, his Bear fan wife, fears for his sanity as he embarks on his bizarre quest. Suddenly Peggy’s theories, and soon her whole world, are turned upside down – especially when she finds herself attracted to one of the Galactic Packer spacemen.
Historic UFO sightings and the oldest rivalry in pro sports combine to inspire this madcap and touching romantic musical comedy that explores new ways out of old conflicts and dares to ask the question, “Is winning the only thing?” Packer Fans from Outer Space weaves together knee-slapping hilarity and beautiful ballads in “a poignant coming-of-age tale wrapped around a tender love story” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
Breakdown: 6 male / 2 female
Breakdown: 1 Keyboard / 1 Drum Set / 1 Bass
Packer Fans from Outer Space – Plot Summary
The fruit farmers of tiny Juddville enthusiastically praise the Packers, the only team owned by its fans (Welcome to Wisconsin). After their exit, Harvey Kiester (wearing an old leather football helmet) paints his outhouse green and gold. It’s the night before the big game between the Packers and their archrivals, the Chicago Bears. As a radio announcer describes how lousy the Packers are, Harvey mindlessly sings along with the County Home Jingle ad.
Distracted, he doesn’t see Marge emerge from the outhouse. Marge, a Bears fan, is appalled. What will the neighbors think? Harvey defends his paint job, while Marge insists he paint it grey (Green and Gold). Daughter Peggy enters, collecting data about flying saucers spotted in the area. She announces she’s applying to the Institute for Extraterrestrial Science, where she’ll study how space visitors could bring world peace. Marge counters that Peggy is needed for the harvest, and exits insisting Harvey repaint the outhouse. Peggy, demoralized, gets a pep talk from Harvey, who exits to get the grey paint. Peggy sings Interplanetary Emissaries of Peace.
Harvey returns and Peggy exits. Weird lights and sound effects. 24 and 39 emerge from the outhouse, point the Spheroid at Harvey to “freeze” him, and march him through the outhouse door. The scene shifts to the Starship Nitschke, where Coach explains to the dumbfounded Harvey that he’s the legendary Big Kiester, greatest vessel of Packer power in the universe, who alone can help them win their losing war with the Space Bears (Big Kiester). He must paint three things—armor, weapon, and helmet—and then return with them to become an invincible Space Bear-slayer.
When Harvey says this doesn’t sound like a game, they say they’ve never heard of this concept—-on their planet, football is war! Harvey, sympathetic, says he can’t leave his wife. The spacemen are confused—there are no females on their planet—and are agitated to learn Marge is a Bears fan. Coach tells 24 and 39 to return Harvey to Earth, make sure he paints his three special objects, “blend in”, and avoid the “She-Bear”, Marge. Finally, the outhouse must remain green and gold so it can serve as their portal to Earth.
When Harvey enters the kitchen claiming he’s met Packer spacemen, Peggy thinks he’s joking and Marge wonders if he’s hit his head. Peg exits, while Marge throws his football helmet into the root cellar. 24 and 39 enter disguised as Swedish tourists. 39, with Spheroid under his garment, looks pregnant. Harvey tells Marge they’re Packer spacemen, but she believes they’re really Swedes. The spacemen indirectly remind Harvey of his task (Artsy Farmer) while avoiding Marge. Peggy enters and recognizes they are indeed spacemen. Marge touches 39’s belly (actually the Spheroid), which makes unearthly sounds. The spacemen exit, followed by Peg and Harvey.
In the orchard, Harvey presents his “weapon”, a pitchfork painted green and gold, to 24 and 39. They praise him (Big Kiester Reprise), and he leaves to find “armor”. After 24 exits, Peggy enters and bids the space visitor 39 welcome, but he commands her not to approach. Greatly alarmed to learn these Packer spacemen are at war, she asks if they have love on their world. 39 explains that they only kill enemies (We Call That Love). Peggy says the people of Earth are taught to Love Our Enemy, which 39 finds disturbing. 24 returns, trying to erase her memory with the Spheroid, but it malfunctions. She exits. 39 asks 24 if they could ever love the Bears, but 24 convinces him that You Gotta Hate the Bears.
Kiester Kitchen. Dawn. Peggy, writing in her journal, realizes she’s attracted to 39. Marge enters with a corset, and starts gathering ingredients for a foul-smelling Polish brain tonic to restore Harvey’s sanity. Harvey enters, haggard from a sleepless night in the barn. When he notices the corset, Marge says it’s for Peggy, who says it looks like a suit of armor. Harvey sneakily takes the corset off to paint it.
Marge, seeing something is upsetting Peggy, figures out that it’s a boy. Peggy won’t say who, but says they’re from “two different worlds”. In a warm mother-daughter exchange, Marge says this was true of her and Harvey, too (The Things Men Do). Peggy, heartened, exits to find 39. Harvey enters wearing a bathrobe, which Marge discovers hides her buxom corset, now green and gold. As Harvey runs off, she grows even more worried.
In the orchard, Harvey sings of his anxiety about meeting the Space Bears (Harvey’s Orchard Song). Peggy enters, and after a brief chat, Harvey exits. 39 enters, and Peggy discovers the spacemen believe contact with a female will cause their head to explode. She deduces that they learned about the Packers through TV signals, and misunderstood football to be warfare. When she asks where they come from, 39 adjusts her optic nerve so she can see stars in the daytime, making the stage dark. She figures out they’re from Arcturus, which 39 calls “the Bart Star.” She introduces 39 to apples, which he finds scrumptious. In a 50’s-style number, they learn about each other (Life on Earth), almost leading to a kiss.
24 enters and chides 39 for not scouting for Space Bears, which Peggy is distressed to learn about. She exits when they hear Coach coming through the portal. Harvey arrives with painted armor, but confesses his fear of being eaten. Coach rekindles his spirit (Winning Is The Only Thing). He sends Harvey to find and paint his helmet, and says “Open Nitschke” to return to the ship. Peggy repeats the phrase and enters the portal.
In the kitchen, Marge listens while the radio broadcasts the Packers-Bear game and County Home Jingle 2. Harvey enters. She insists he drink the foul brain tonic, which he spits on her apron. She leaves to change it and he goes to the cellar for his helmet. Weird light and sound effects. Two scary Space Bears enter through the refrigerator door, search for Harvey, disrupt furniture, and leave. Harvey and Marge return. Harvey solemnly insists he must go to outer space and exits. She tearfully sings The Things Men Do Reprise and calls the County Home.
On the spaceship, Coach is alarmed by terrible news from Galactose. Peggy enters and explains that football is actually just a game, or “a war where no one gets killed.” Coach, though convinced, says it’s too late to stop the war. He freezes her with the Spheroid and exits. 39 enters, unfreezes her. Both return to Earth.
In the Kiester orchard, Marge tries to persuade Harvey there are no “little green men”. He asks her to believe his odd tale, or at least accept him as he is (Nuts in Every Tree). Space Packers and Space Bears arrive, and in slow-motion battle Harvey overpowers the Space Bears. But rather than killing them, he explains that football is a game, not war, and they can respect each other (That’s What’s Nice About a Game). With the war officially ended, the aliens bid farewell. Peg asks to go with 39, and Marge tearfully allows it. 24 remains to help with the harvest. As Coach exits through the portal, he rues, “I guess winning isn’t the only thing.” Men in White Coats arrive, and with Harvey and Marge watch the spaceship leave, followed by Welcome to Wisconsin Reprise.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Llloyd Upkins – a local sports-radio personality (voice only)
Harvey Keister – a faithful Packer fan and orchard owner
Marge Keister – Harvey’s wife, a Bears fan of Chicago-Polish descent
Peggy Keister – their daughter, a smart, idealistic young scientist around 20 yrs. old
24 – a Galactic Packer
39 – another Galactic Packer
Coach – the high-powered leader of the Galactic Packers, takes his look and demeanor from Lombardi
The Spheroid – a talking football-shaped device. Could be male or female.
Space Bears – two fearsome, furry and fanged, football warrior creatures
Men In White Coats – two bespectacled guys who work for the County Home (who can be played by the same actors as Space Bears)
An Orchard in Northeast Wisconsin. Outer Space. November, 1953.
LIST OF SONGS
Welcome to Wisconsin – The apple farmers of Juddville, Wisconsin, joyously describe their lives and their devotion to the Packers.
County Home Jingle – A cheery radio advertisement inviting people to bring their relatives to the County Home if they are “packing their bag for a trip ‘round the bend.”
Green and Gold – Harvey explains to Marge why he painted their outhouse green and gold, while Marge argues that he should paint it back to grey
Interplanetary Emissaries of Peace – A lovely ballad in which Peg thanks the Lord for the impending opportunity to greet beings from another planet and learn about their presumed philosophy of peace.
Big Kiester – Coach dramatically describes the Galactic Packers’ war against the Space Bears and how Harvey (whom they call “The Big Kiester”) has been prophesized to be their savior.
Artsy Farmer – 24 and 39, barely disguised as Swedish tourists, sing about how they have come to America seeking farmers who paint weapons and armor
We Call That Love – 39 succinctly describes how the Galactic Packers define “love”.
Love Our Enemy – Peg movingly tells of how she’s dreamed since childhood that people would actually love their enemies.
You Gotta Hate the Bears – After 39 has begun to waver from the idea that his people should hate the Space Bears, 24 forcefully argues that hating the Bears is the only reasonable option.
The Things Men Do – In the style of a Polish folk ballad, Marge tells Peggy how she met Harvey, how men’s actions defy comprehension, and how she’ll support Peg in whatever choices she makes.
Harvey’s Orchard Song – In a soliloquy, Harvey ruminates about how he can’t possibly take on an army of ravenous Space Bears.
Life On Earth – Peg and 39, in a romping 50’s number, describe their respective lives and 39 expresses his fascination with Peg.
Winning Is the Only Thing – Coach persuades Harvey that he must fight the Space Bears.
Nuts In Every Tree – Harvey goofily convinces Marge that she should love him even if he sounds a little wacky.
That’s What’s Nice About a Game – The big final number in which Harvey helps the Galactic Packers and Space Bears realize that football is not a war but just a game, and that this is a wonderful thing.
Welcome to Wisconsin Reprise – The cast addresses the audience, saying it’s time to use the john and to once more celebrate our love for the Packers. This song can be omitted if desired.
Packer Fans From Outer Space has three primary playing spaces – the orchard, the Kiester kitchen and the interior of the Starship Nitschke. The orchard consists of apple trees, bushel basket, a step ladder and a psychedelically painted green and gold outhouse. One possible set design is to paint stylized apple trees on flats on either side of a rotating outhouse. These flats can open up and the outhouse can rotate to become the transporter door, and the orchard can thus transform into the interior of the Starship Nitschke. The only item necessary in this space is a stand in which to place the Spheroid, though a bench could be added to provide levels.
The Kiester Kitchen can be masked by a roll drop that shows the exterior of the house until the scene shifts indoors. The kitchen requires a refrigerator that has a false back to allow for the arrival of the Space Bears. Beyond that, it’s a classic 50’s kitchen, with stove, sink, table and chairs. There is a radio on the counter and a phone. There is also a closet (or trap) door where Marge throws Harvey’s helmet and later traps Harvey.
- Bushel basket full of apples
- 2 Paint cans with paint dripping down side (1 green, 1 gold)
- Portable radio
- Data Notebook
- Spheroid (this metallic, robotic football has flashing lights that synch with its voice)
- Plate with kielbasa, silverware
- Harvey’s Helmets (old-fashioned leather helmet, with green and gold painted duplicate that has been rigged to light up.)
- Marge’s “Corsets” (with 50’s era conical bra, also with green-and-gold-painted duplicate wired to light up)
- Pitchfork (green and gold, rigged to light up)
Although it sounds like it might be merely a bizarre sci-fi caper, Packer Fans from Outer Space is built around the coming-of-age story of Peggy, an intelligent college-age farm girl in the 1950’s. The “heart” of the show lies in her desire to help bring peace to a world wrapped up in the Cold War, her halting romance with a visitor from another world, and her poignant relationship with a traditional Mom. This angle might be most productive from which to sell the show.
Packer Fans was inspired by actual flying saucer sightings in the early 1950’s in northeast Wisconsin. We found multiple reports in the local newspaper by a park superintendent, newspaper editor, and state patrol officer. Although there’s no reason to believe these sightings had anything to do with the Packers, it may be useful to realize that the show is rooted in reality rather than being invented from whole cloth.
For those who live in other states, it is difficult to overestimate the devotion with which Wisconsinites approach their hallowed Green Bay Packers. Much of this has to do with the Packers being the only publically-owned professional sports team in America. Their rivalry with the Chicago Bears traces back to the early 1920’s and is the oldest in US pro sports history. ESPN surveys have shown that the Packers have a huge following outside Wisconsin as well, and frequently rank as America’s favorite football team.
The Packers of 1953 really were as awful as the show describes and really did play a tie game with the Bears on November 8, 1953, the only time this ever happened. This fact helped inspire the show’s message that “winning isn’t the only thing.”
The Packer aliens in our show sometimes communicate in gibberish, which is a spontaneously created nonsensical language. Descriptions of how to do it appear in Viola Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theatre. Gibberish is created on the spot at every occasion, rather than being memorized. Like any language, it is accompanied by nonverbal signals that convey its approximate meaning. For example, it can be done angrily, anxiously, tearfully, or with any emotional tone. It is not nearly as difficult to produce as one might think, and adds substantially to the fun of the piece.
Harvey speaks in the rural dialect of northeast Wisconsin. For example, he pronounces “th” as “d” (“Dese” rather than “these”), and has a nasal inflection in pronouncing “o”. Marge has a Polish accent. Peggy speaks in normal American English. The Packer spacemen can use a stylized 50’s-sci-fi movie accent if desired.
The same two actors can play Space Bears and Men in White Coats. The Spheroid is voiced via an actor on a microphone.
Packer Fans isn’t just the world’s first – and only – musical comedy crossing science fiction with football. Together with all the silliness the title suggests, it’s also a frequently touching show with a great message: In football and in life, it’s possible to compete hard while respecting your opponent. Packer Fans includes a poignant coming-of-age tale wrapped around a tender love story. The wide-ranging score includes rousing anthems to Wisconsin and the Packers, beautiful ballads and a loving homage to vaudeville. If our divided politicians really want to inaugurate a new era of good feeling, they should arrange a group outing to Packer Fans From Outer Space.
– Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Packer Fans from Outer Space is as delightful as its title sounds. This musical is bizarre, cosmic and hilarious. The show has visual and word gags galore. Audiences will love this show. It’s full imagination, spirit and humor, along with sensitive and thoughtful moments.
– Warren Gerds, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Thank you for co-authoring Packer Fans from Outer Space and for a wonderful show. Your collaboration has created a charming book and score that should be seen by everyone in Wisconsin, as well as our “naturalized” brethren around the US who share our devotion to Packers football.
– John M. Jones, former Chief Operating Officer, Green Bay Packers
Packer Fans from Outer Space – General Pricing Info
Producing organization shall pay to Northern Sky a flat fee for the Run equal to the cost of a full price adult ticket multiplied by the number of performances of the Run multiplied by the number of seats in the Theater multiplied by .08.
Northern Sky shall be paid a royalty of Ten Percent (10%) of gross weekly box office receipts (“GWBOR”) from the production of the Musical during the Run.
Transfer agreements will be issued upon receipt of licensing application and any applicable deposit or flat fee payment.
High resolution vector format show logo packets are also available for an additional $30 usage fee.