PRICE IS RIGHT

'Price' Point: Stage version of classic CBS game show comes to Star Plaza Theatre

2012-10-05T00:00:00Z 2013-04-18T11:20:37Z 'Price' Point: Stage version of classic CBS game show comes to Star Plaza TheatreBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Last month, CBS game show staple "The Price Is Right" celebrated a 40th anniversary to mark its debut on Sept. 4, 1972.

The perennial popularity of the television series of price tag guessing is what inspired a live audience traveling stage version launched a decade ago.

On Friday, Oct. 12, "The Price is Right- LIVE!" comes to Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville for the first time inviting audiences to "come on down" for prizes and excitement.

It's not televised show with host Drew Carey. But it's the same licensed venture with all of the favorite pricing games surrounded by the oh-so-familiar set and studio look, and even the same recognizable theme music.

The flagship version of the stage show is based at Bally's Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, and remains a popular standing gig attraction.

Emmy Award-winning game show host Todd Newton, who has hosted the Vegas incarnation and is a familiar face from his TV hosting duties on "Family Game Night," is traveling to Merrillville to host this month's "The Price Is Right-LIVE!" one night event.

"It's just like everything you see on TV, only without all of the television cameras and commercial delays," Newton said.

"The stage version is the creation of the same production company that has done the TV game show for all these decades."

While the classic set used for the Bally's location is an actual "retired" set from the CBS daytime television run replaced and updated years ago, Newton said the traveling set recreation resembles everything seen by viewers today who tune in for favorite challenges.

"We bring all of the favorite games, which we rotate from night to night, like Plinko, Cliff Hangers, complete with the yodeling mountain-climber, the Shell Game, all waiting for audiences to win using their pricing knowledge," Newton said.

"And of course, we bring The Big Wheel and all of the usual Showcase Showdown elements."

All guests, with audience members invited to arrive early starting at 5 p.m. to register prior to the show's 8 p.m. start, even wear the game show's trademark "giant price tag" name tag contestant stickers.

He said the only slight difference is the advantage that more contestants, as many as 20 at a time, are allowed to be called to "come on down" to Contestants' Row with the hopes of making it on stage.

As for the prizes, the valuable winnings mimic everything from the TV show, from cash and appliances to vacations, and even cars.

Newton said when he began his hosting position for the stage version a decade ago, the one-and-only Bob Barker, who turns 90 next year, trained him to always be "game-ready."

"Bob Barker mentored me, not just with 'The Price Is Right,' but how to be a prepared game show host," Newton said.

"When contestants are excited and winning big prizes, anything can happen."

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