a group of people standing next to each other
Contestants at 'The Price is Right Live,’ game show compete for prizes on March 26, 2022, at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

In its 23rd year of touring North America, “The Price is Right Live” will return to the Coffee Butler Amphitheater in Key West on April 28 at 8 p.m. The iconic game show’s road tour is hosted by Todd Newton, who recently joined the new Key West Side Tracks podcast.

At the show, ticket holders who have registered in advance will be randomly selected as contestants. VIP ticket packages, which include official “The Price is Right” merchandise, access to fast check-in and a chance to spin the famous Big Wheel are also available.

Newton, whose love for Key West began when he was a child, spoke with Keys Weekly digital editor Gwen Filosa about the staying power of the historic game show, carrying the legacy of the TV show’s star host Bob Barker on tour and what every contestant needs to know in case they’re randomly chosen to “Come on down!” to the stage.

Originally from St. Louis, Newton, 53, is a seasoned TV host who has worked in the entertainment industry for 30 years and in 2012 won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host.

Here’s an excerpt of the podcast interview:

You were introduced to Key West by your family when you were a little kid. You’ve been a constant visitor ever since.

I took my first steps as a baby on the beaches of Key West. I went there throughout my entire childhood. In my 20s, I started going alone and having the kind of fun a young man can have in his 20s in Key West. I had an apartment in the historic district throughout my 30s. And when I got married and had children of my own, we would make Key West our destination every time we left home. During the pandemic, I spent most of the lockdown in the Keys. It’s gonna be a homecoming for me and it’s the second to the last show of the tour. I can’t think of a better place to wrap it up or a better place to have the next day off, which we do.

The Keys are a special place. There’s nowhere else like these islands.

Once the Keys enter your soul, it never leaves. I can’t think of any place I would have rather have spent this huge chunk of my life than enjoying those sunsets and the sense of community and the pride of the island. It’s something I take with me no matter where we are in the United States. It’s a spirit, a mood.

A packed crowd at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater attends a live stage version of the iconic game show ‘The Price is Right’ in March 2022. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

How’s the tour going?

This tour is the biggest and by far the best we’ve ever done. We’re just thrilled to be bringing a part of America’s favorite game show down to the Keys and giving folks the chance to win these fabulous prizes playing the games that they love from television.

These games are not designed to trick you or to trip you up in any way. I mean, we want to see you win. I’m not buying these cars or paying for these trips out of my own pocket. So I want you to win and. I want you to walk away happy and I want to make this memory with you.

So many generations have watched “The Price is Right.” It’s practically a family tradition.

We meet people at the shows whose mother or grandmother or grandfather had been on “The Price is Right” with Bob Barker 25 years ago. I love hearing those stories. I love looking out into the audience and seeing generations of families out there just really enjoying this together. I grew up watching it with my grandmother and I watched it in college and watched it with my children when they were younger. It’s just something we passed down. I say “The Price is Right” is right up there with apple pie and baseball.

What are some tips for contestants?

Watch the show. See how the games work. Then when you get up on stage, leave all your inhibitions out there in the lawn area and just be ready to have a good time. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

You’ve said we’re all kind of preparing for “The Price is Right” without even knowing it.

When we run to the store to grab milk or run to the store to grab something to prepare for dinner that night, you’re looking at prices up and down the shelves and it’s registering. So when we bring out an item for someone to bid on, there’s going to be at least a little bit of background knowledge there. The majority of the games are split right down the middle with luck and chance and skill.

What do you think is the appeal of the show? It’s lasted forever.

It’s several different games in one. That’s why people love it. It’s more than just a trivia question and answer. It’s Plinko, the Big Wheel, the Showcase and Golden Road – all of these games that we all practice for unknowingly. Just going grocery shopping, you’re practicing.

You’re a veteran host of “The Price is Right Live” show. What’s it like on stage?

It’s such a privilege. I’m very proud to say that I was mentored by Bob Barker. He’s the one that taught me how to be a game show host. And he’s the one that put me in the position over two decades ago. So I have great pride in every single performance. And the one thing Mr Barker taught me was to play the game through the eyes of the contestants.

Contestants on “The Price is Right” always seem so excited and happy when their name is called to “come on down.”

I get to spin the wheel every night but for the contestant, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s kind of like when you have kids all of a sudden, Christmas is really cool and fun again. Birthdays are exciting again, when you see it through their eyes. So that’s how I host the show. The games are real, the prices are real. And the great thing about the show is that every contestant is chosen completely at random. So everyone that comes to see us at the amphitheater will have the very same shot of getting on stage.

Gwen Filosa
Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.