For 49 years, “The Price is Right!” has been bringing cash, prizes and playful entertainment to audiences across the United States, and on Sunday, Dec. 3, the team brought the luck-based game show to Boise State. While this isn’t the show’s first time in Boise, this time around was an successful run, attracting a few handfuls of Boise State students to the audience of the stage show. With several leaving the stage with money and fly-away trips, the show speaks for itself when giving itself the same of the “greatest game show in game show history.”
The famed “Come on down!” announcer for the night was Andy Martello, whose work could be seen on the television show “Last Comic Standing.” Martello opened the show with the rules and regulations, including a few hidden surprises such as audience member prizes between games, and that the show’s final segment, the Showcase, would be randomly selected regardless of previous winnings. While he brought the contestant excitement to the forefront of the live show this weekend, the host, Todd Newton, brought the audience laughs throughout each segment.
Todd Newton is best known for his hosting roles on game shows such as “Whammy: Press Your Luck,” “Hollywood Showdown” and “Family Game Night,” the last of which he received a Daytime Emmy award for. He may not be as well-known as the studio show’s Drew Carey, but he certainly brought the necessary charisma to bring a television show to life on a stage for theatre. One contestant, a garage door mechanic who took the stage with Newton, seemed less than excited to be on the show, blaming his monotony on the bright lights, but Newton wouldn’t let him live it down without some humor.
“The lights are too bright? Man, that’s like me coming to your job and saying, ‘Huh, this door keeps going up and down’,” Newton said.
Hosting aside, the show was a decent example of a theatrical performance as well, clearly geared to older fans as well as Boise State students. The contestant registration line was a mix of generations, yet all the same enthusiasm for the idea of being asked to compete on Contestant’s Row. With contestants from Washington to California, Boise quickly became a hub for the entire Pacific Northwest.
“I love Boise, Idaho as it is; the cold is one of my favorite things. That said, I didn’t need an excuse to come anymore once I saw that ‘The Price is Right!’ was headed to the Morrison Center–I bought my tickets right away,” said Sheri, a contestant from San Jose, California.
With a fanbase as large as that of “The Price is Right!,” the excitement was the gift that kept on giving on Sunday night. The show included many of the original games from the television series, including audience favorites like “Plinko!” and “Cliffhanger.” The most anticipated part of the night, however, seemed to be the Big Wheel. As acclaimed as the television wheel of similar stance, three participants were labeled as the “lucky three” who were given the opportunity to spin the wheel and walk away with cash prizes (as well as a great photo opportunity).
Similarly, audience members were given the chance to purchase a VIP Pass at the beginning of the show, with which they were able to spin the Big Wheel after the show’s conclusion. The merchandisers call this pass “The Big Wheel Experience,” and it appeared to be one of the most popular merchandise items for sale. Other merchandise for the show included t-shirts and baseball caps, both of which appeared frequently in the rows of audience members in the show.
A show like “The Price is Right Live!” is presumed to be uncommon in nature–game shows don’t often tour beyond a live studio audience. Host Todd Newton credited the show’s vast success to the audiences, new and old, who have been watching the show for decades, or even just a few years.
“For 49 years, this show has been the greatest in game show history. From Bob Barker to Drew Carey, the legacy has continued to grow, but it wouldn’t be possible without those of you who have been here since day one,” Newton said.
All in all, the game show might not have been college students’ number one pick for a weekend getaway–fans of the television show definitely took the reins on ticket sales–yet there was a charm about the theatrical performance of a beloved television show that managed to bring audiences together, whether in the form of prizes or applause. With the success of this year’s performance in tow for both contestants and the show itself, it is sure to be more attractive to Boise State students in the coming performance years, maybe even calling on a few to “Come on down!” next year.