Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 163 - The Price is Right

I have never attended a game show. That changed today when I had the chance to see the Price is Right live for the very first time. This game show of price matching was a staple of my sick days from school and my summer mornings when I was growing up. When I could, I would spend my mornings watching Bob Barker guide ecstatic contestants through games that would give them the chance to win exciting prizes and cash. As anyone who watched the game at that time knows, the excitement of the entire show was addictive, and the flash of each game was enough to keep a person glued to the television for the daily hour-long show. The Price is Right was simply good entertainment, and it was always consistent in its delivery.

Let's do this!
As a result of these factors, I jumped at the opportunity to attend The Price is Right Live when a friend of mine, Megan, recently let me know the touring show was coming to Madison. Driven by a bit of nostalgia and a lot of excitement, I actually committed to going to the show before checking how it would affect my “I have never...” calendar. Fortunately, a few last minute changes and some flexibility in my planned events meant I would be able to fit the show in, which solidified my plans to attend The Price is Right in hopes I could get the chance to win “fabulous prizes” playing a ridiculously awesome game in front of a crowd of people.

Less than a week after committing to the show, I found myself heading down to the Overture Center for the second time in as many months. With my friends Justin, Patrick, and Ross at my side, we met up with Megan, who had roped some other folks, Amanda, Al, and Bree into tagging along for the event. Feeling like a prize-hunger eight pack of Price is Right fools, signed up to be contestants, enjoyed a few drinks, and waited for the show to begin. Needless to say, the excitement was palpable among our group, even in our efforts to temper it with conversation. We all knew the experience was going to be a good one, but we had to wait to see exactly how good it was going to be.

Photo courtesy of The Price is Right Live

After finding our seats in the theatre, we settled in and chatted as we waited for the show to begin. Luckily, the wait wasn’t long, with the lights dimming and the Price is Right announcer taking the stage less than 15 minutes from when we entered the balcony. With his primary goal of warming up the audience, the announcer walked through the role of the audience during the show and asked us to be as involved as possible before, during, and after each game. Happy to oblige, our group geared up quickly and prepared to make the most of our Price is Right experience.

After the announcer’s introduction, our host, Mark Wahlberg (of Antiques Roadshow fame) took the stage and welcomed the crowd. After the first announcements of contestants to “come on down!”, Mark introduced a simple pricing game for the first round of contestants. In response, the crowd erupted with random calls of prices for the item in an effort to help the contestants as they did their best to earn a chance at one of the show’s main games. Although all of the activity was very familiar, the ability to participate in front of a live show was much more exciting. Our group called out recommendations, debated price choices, and rolled with anticipation as we participated. We were only moments into the game, and we were already having a blast. At that point it was obvious we were going to have fun, regardless of if we walked away with any prizes to show.

Photo courtesy of The Price is Right Live 

Ultimately, the first price game came to a conclusion with all four contestants placing their price estimates and one contestant winning the chance to take the stage and play one of the renowned Price is Right games. As the curtain pulled up to reveal the first game, I erupted with excitement at the familiar sight of my favorite Price is Right game,  “Mountain Climbers.” Although a part of me was hopeful I would be the one called forward to play the game, I knew the odds were slim, and just seeing the game in person was enough to make me smile. Unfortunately, its presence on the stage was short lived as the first contestant played poorly during the game, sending the mountain climber over the cliff just two price estimates into the game. Regardless, seeing “Mountain Climbers” on stage was enough to elevate my excitement, which carried me through the rest of the show.

Photo courtesy of The Price is Right Live

Over the next hour, our group watched on as contestants were called forward and given the chance to play more of the Price is Right’s famous games. Although some rule changes and a faster than normal recycle of potential contestants left something to be desired, seeing players take on Plinko, Hole in One, Punch a Bunch, the Big Wheel, and other games was highly entertaining. With each game that came and went, our group remained hopeful we would get called to take a chance at winning, but as the show wound down into the Price is Right showcase, it became clear luck was not on our side during the show. As a result, we happily watched on as highly active crowd participants in the show until the final curtain fell on our first Price is Right experience. Although we left empty handed, the experience was definitely one to have and one heck of a way to spend a Tuesday night.

Amanda, Mark, and I

Following the show, our group decided to make the short trip to a nearby piano bar and have a drink as we wound down from the Price is Right experience. There we told stories and shared laughs as we sang along with the familiar tunes being sang by the nearby piano player. Much to our surprise, Mark Wahlberg walked through the door shortly after we did, which gave us the opportunity to meet the man that had hosted the show that served as the centerpiece of tonight’s experience. Happy to take some time to speak to us, he chatted with us about the Price is Right and about the piano bar, despite the fact he likely has to deal with such events routinely. After a brief conversation, we left Mark to enjoy his drink and enjoy the music and decided to call it a night. As we waited for a ride outside the piano bar, we talked about the night’s experience and recapped some of the highlights of the event. While we all agreed it would have been incredible if one of us had been called out as a contestant, it was undeniable that we had a great time at the Price is Right. Of course, it’s difficult not to when you are doing something so unique with a group of awesome people.

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