Like most everyone else in America, I have always been a huge fan of The Price is Right. When I heard that they have a stage version, it's touring, and it was coming to a town near me, I couldn't have been more thrilled. I jumped on it the morning tickets went on sale, picked up a couple for my husband and me, and thus began my dreams of hearing my name followed by, "...Come on down!"
The big day finally came yesterday, and as the clock ticked down to show time, our excitement grew. Our tickets listed show time as 7:30 p.m., but registration for prospective competitors started at 4:30. Logistically, we weren't able to get there until almost 6.
That didn't matter, though, because we parked, we were able to quickly find the registration line, jump in, and proceed toward the doors.
The line was outside, so you'll want to dress for the weather if you want to get your chance on-stage. Luckily, the line moved quickly, so we never stood still for long. Our queue time came in right at 35 minutes, not too bad at all.
Once we got to the door, an usher asked how many were in our party, then directed us to a venue staff member seated at a table (there were plenty of tables and plenty of staff, which was why the line had moved quickly). We were given a form to complete and a blank, yellow name tag, and told that pens and markers were at the tables behind us. We proceeded there, where we placed our first and last name and DOB on the form, wrote our first names on the name tags, then dropped our name forms into a basket on the table.
We were directed back out the doors, where we re-entered the venue through the main doors to have our tickets scanned.
Note that the Disclaimer at the bottom of the show's official website includes the fact that no purchase is actually necessary in order to play, but you do need tickets to watch the show. So, if TPIRL comes to your town and you want to potentially play, but you don't want to buy a ticket, you should still be able to register to play but won't be able to watch the rest of the show.
Once inside, we found our seats and I noticed that most of the venue (an arena that is normally used for college basketball games, concerts, and other shows) had been curtained off, leaving one of the narrow ends available for seating. This made me feel much better about my chances for getting picked as a contestant! The host later said that 2,400 were in attendance, so those are pretty good odds.
When I first saw it, I was less than impressed with the stage, but thankfully first impressions aren't always lasting. While we waited for the show to start, most everything was hidden behind a large black curtain. Contestant row (4 slots) was visible in front center, and a Jumbotron sat on each side of the stage.
The announcer came onto the stage to introduce the show, pump up our excitement, and bring out the host.
The pace was great: the announcer helped the crowd practice our Ooooohs and Aaaaaahs, showed a few clips that demonstrated (from the televised show) the most entertaining ways to, "Come on down", and showed a video intro of our host.
No photos or videos were allowed after this; the curtain is pulled back. The colorful stage pops out and looks just like the one on TV!
The host came out, and the show was on! The announcer called down the first four contestants, and they made their way down with the house lights on.
From then on, the show was surprisingly similar to the televised show, with a few exceptions. Those in contestant row bid on items, and whoever came closest got to go onstage. The remaining three went back to their seats and received a T-shirt on the way back. If anyone bid the exact amount, he or she received an extra prize. This actually happened on the first bid: the winner received an iPad Mini for an exact bid!
The games played were like those on the televised version and included:
Hole in 1 (or 2, just like on TV!)
Punch a Bunch
4 new people were called up to contestant row each time, a change from the televised version of the game. But that's great for those of us in the audience, because it means we have more chances to compete! Also between games, five names were drawn and announced for a free T-shirt.
Like the TV version, there were two chances to spin the big wheel: one at mid-point and one before the showcase. Unlike the TV version, though, the wheel wasn't tied to the showcase. Three new people were chosen to spin the wheel each time, and highest without going over $1.00 was awarded $250. The winner received a $100 bonus and and additional spin if he or she got $1.00, and even more money awarded if the additional spin landed on the $.05, $.15, or $1.00.
Finally, at the end of the show, it was time for the Showcase. Unlike the TV version, one person was chosen to go onstage for a chance at winning the big showcase. It was a surprisingly nice group of items that included a Leapster, Xbox 360 with Gamefly subscription, HD TV, popcorn machine, and (of course) a car. Rather than ask the contestant to guess the total amount of the showcase, she was presented with the Price is Right game, "10 Chances", in which the price of each item must be unscrambled (and there is always an extra number thrown in to make it harder) in order to win each.
The Showcase contestant was able to guess the correct price for the Leapster and PS360, but she fell short when it came to the television, which meant she didn't win it or the car.
At the end of the show, the audience was given the opportunity to get in line to spin the big wheel and take a photo for $20. The host mentioned that this wheel had been used as a backup on the televised show, so it was indeed the real thing. We opted to not stay, though it would have made great photo!
Winners had to stay after the show in order to complete paperwork and prove eligibility, so be sure to take a photo ID with you if you plan to play!
Showtime was 7:30. It started around 7:40, ended around 9:20, which was the perfect amount of time to keep everyone excited about the games before they started to get tired of clapping and yelling, "One dollar!!"
All in all, it was a fantastic time. Even though we weren't called to, "Come on down," I had an incredible time just being there. While the prizes aren't always as glamorous as those on the televised show, and the tickets weren't free, expect a fun time if you go. Even if you don't get a car, a trip, or even a T-shirt, you'll come home with one of these fancy name tags. It's an awesome souvenir.
The Price is Right tour schedule can be found here. Don't miss it!