COME ON DOWN!!
Never mind that Bob Barker is long retired and no television cameras will be present to capture your euphoria for posterity.
“The Price Is Right Live,” is, as the billing suggests, a mobile version of the granddaddy of all surviving TV game shows.
Wheels will be spun, shells will be lifted and screams will rumble along the New Madrid fault line.
Above ALL, of course: real live material booty will be given.
Just try walking out of “The Jersey Boys” or a Kenny Chesney concert with a new refrig or a fat wad of bills.
Not gonna happen. Here, though, it’s gonna — over and over.
For the record, one version of “TPIS Live” is ensconced in Las Vegas, another is newly opened in Branson and a third — with wheels — is headed for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts for a sold-out show Saturday night.
Among the current hosts who oversee one or more of these is Jerry Springer, Bob (“Entertainment Tonight”) Goen, Joey (“Dancing with the Stars”) Fatone and Todd Newton.
Newton, who just won a Daytime Emmy Award for 2012’s Outstanding Game Show Host (via The Hub’s “Family Game Night”), will be the genial man doling out the booty on the BCPA stage.
No stranger, he: “I’ve been doing the live stage version for 10 years,” he confesses, also admitting to being one of the finalists to replace his hero, Bob Barker, when he retired.
“It started,” he recalls, “in a tiny theater in Reno, Nev. — the old Sammy Davis Jr. showroom, which held just 200 people.”
Newton was there on the ground level and has watched the touring version’s success mushroom in the decade after. Today, he notes with pride, the opus routinely sells out in venues 10 or more times the size of that modest Reno room.
He sees value beyond the prize bait, however.
“There’s more to this than just hoping to win a prize,” he insists. “People enjoy the experience and the energy of it as much as anything else. That’s the key to any good game show, whether you’re in a studio or at home rooting for the other players.”
Though not everybody who comes to the show is going the get called onstage, says Newton, the live format accommodates a new set of four players for each of that night’s games, which vary for every performance, but usually include “greatest hits” like Plinko, Cliffhangers and Shell Game (Newton’s personal favorite).
He couldn’t preview any of the prizes, but Newton did assure ticket-holders of up to two hours of intense gamesmanship in the show’s best “Come on down!” tradition, replete with full “Price Is Right” set (it takes a well-stocked 18-wheeler to deliver it, a full day to install and 11 crew people to set everything into motion).
Note: All attendees 18 and over wishing to be eligible to win a prize must register before the event between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the BCPA lobby.
After registering, “Get ready to yell and scream and have a great time,” says Newton, no stranger to such reflexes himself. “I’m a game show fan first, and a game show employee second.”
At a glance
What: “The Price Is Right Live,” with host Todd Newton
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St.
Tickets: $35 (SOLD OUT)
Box office: 866-686-9541