Right 'Price': Stage version of classic CBS game show returns to Star Plaza Theatre

2013-04-19T00:00:00Z Right 'Price': Stage version of classic CBS game show returns to Star Plaza TheatreBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Last year, 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.

Last October, "The Price is Right- LIVE!" came to Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville for the first time inviting a sold-out audience to "come on down" for prizes and excitement. Next week, all the same fun and games return to Star Plaza for another round on Saturday, April 27.

It's not the 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.

For last year's visit, it was Emmy Award-winning game show host Todd Newton, who has hosted the Vegas incarnation and a familiar face from his TV hosting duties on "Family Game Night," who traveled to Merrillville for hosting duties.

For this month's "The Price Is Right-LIVE!" one night event, it's host Pat Finn as the new face guiding contestants for a night of surprises.

"Merrillville will be one of my first times hosting the touring version for this game show, so that adds to the excitement," said Finn, who hosted the game show "Shop Til You Drop" for cable's Lifetime network.

"It's just like everything you see on TV, only without all of the television cameras and commercial delays, but even better. During our live event, we have at least 60 people who are called to be part of contestant row, so that's even better odds."

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, the traveling set recreation resembles everything seen by viewers today who tune in for favorite challenges.

The traveling producers bring all of the favorite games, which are rotated 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.

The night wraps with 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.

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

Finn said his host training and audition included a "crash course" in learning all the games and rules associated with handling "excited contestants.

"Since we don't have cameras rolling to have to tape the show, we can be a little more relaxed and keep things moving," Finn said.

"It's all live, so even I don't know what is going to happen next with a contestant, until it happens."

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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