McCain ‘Price is Right’ only a shadow of the TV show

By Christopher K. Conner

On Sunday, iconic game show “The Price is Right” came to McCain Auditorium in the form of “The Price is Right Live Stage Show.”

The stage version of the long-running and popular game show began nearly ten years ago and has given out cash and prizes to audiences across the country. Because of the limitations of a traveling show, only the most popular “Price is Right” games make the trip. Favorites such as Punch Out and Hole in One (or Two) give a chance for local audience members to feel some of what it is like to participate in the Hollywood based game show.

Host Todd Newton did a good job of keeping the audience engaged and entertained.  His delivery of comedic asides were well timed and natural. There were a few jokes, though, that fell a bit flat, but not an unusual number. Newton did a good job of explaining the differences between the stage show and the Hollywood version as well. Technical issues plagued the microphones several times, and Newton did fine working around them until he ultimately admonished the sound crew to keep the microphones on, breaking his game show host façade.

In an effort to get the maximum number of audience participants, a fresh group of four were called for each game. Those contestants were called in groups of four to sit on deck waiting for their chance to play. In the Hollywood version, contestants stay until the end if they don’t win a chance to appear on stage. In the stage show, these contestants got one chance and a t-shirt if they didn’t make it to the stage.

The general look and format were similar to “The Price is Right,” but several deviations and short cuts took out a measure of the excitement. Instead of high winners being called up to spin the big wheel, random audience members were called, for example. And only one random audience member got to participate in the Showcase Showdown that usually occurs at the end of “The Price is Right,” removing some of the competitive nature of that segment.

The flow of the TV game show was quite different as well.  Several times there were pauses to show “best of” videos from the TV show. While amusing, the shift of focus was awkward and unnecessary.

In the last segment, the showcase without the showdown did offer up the prize of a trip to Hollywood and a new car, though the contestant failed to win her showcase. Several other contestants won cash or a trip to Las Vegas, where they can catch the show again.

While only a shadow of the true game show, “The Price is Right Live Stage Show” seemed to please fans of the show, but probably isn’t the sort of event that will entertain those unfamiliar with “The Price is Right.” At least until they get called up to the stage themselves.

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