In the 44 years that CBS-TV has carried The Price Is Right weekday mornings, its possible that no successful contestant has had a series of reactions quite like Sarah Ellis did.
In the show aired on KGAN-TV (channel 2) in Cedar Rapids and WISC-TV (channel 3) in Madison Wednesday, the Platteville native guessed closest ($1,300) to the actual retail price ($1,450) of a Dell desktop computer to win it, and from that point on, she said, I honestly think I blacked out. I dont remember anything.
From that point on, Ellis fell to the floor, then danced around host Drew Carey whom she had already told upon winning the computer, Oh my god, you are so beautiful! when she found out she would be competing for a new Mini Cooper. After playing the One Away game, where she picked whether each of five digits was one digit higher or lower than the claimed list price, she asked the Sound Effects Lady if she had one, two, three, four and all numbers correct.
Five car horns indicating Yes later, Ellis jumped around the stage, picked up Carey (who is a full head taller than Ellis), took the Winner license plate from Rachel Reynolds, and lay dramatically on the hood of the sky-blue Mini, like I was in an 80s music video or something.
The dramatic reactions might be fitting for someone who is an actor, singer and dancer now touring in the Broadway show A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder as its dance coach. Her parents are band directors Barry is the director of bands at UWPlatteville, and Terri is the band director at Dodgeville Middle School.
Sarah Ellis is also, as are many people, a viewer of the game show on specific instances.
I equate The Price Is Right to being sick for school if I was home from school, Id watch The Price Is Right at 10 oclock, she said. I am a huge Drew Carey fan from Whose Line Is It Anyway?. So to get on The Price Is Right was just so surreal.
I was out in L.A. with the show, and I was just kind of on vacation, and we just decided to watch The Price Is Right.
Ellis and her friends arrived at the CBS-TV Bob Barker Studio in Hollywoodeon an April day for the shooting of the second to last show of the season around 5:30 a.m., on two hours sleep. Everyone let in for the show was interviewed for about 90 seconds by an interviewer accompanied by a note-taker.
She got to our group, and he started writing frantically, said Ellis. We were just so excited to be there. These people in line said we were going to get on; we didnt believe them.
After Ellis, the first person picked as a contestant, picked her five digits to change $31,141 into $20,050, Carey reminded her to get on her knees to ask the Mighty Sound Effects Lady if she had one number right. Ellis requests proceeded to My darling Sound Effects Lady, My sweet, sweet, sweet sound effects lady and then oh my gosh, the most wonderful Sound Effects Lady in the universe!, before she won the car, picked up Carey, and struck a pose on the hood.
Apparently the chances to win this the first time is 1 in 32, said Ellis. And I got it on the first try.
The Mini doesnt belong to Ellis yet. Since she lives in New York City, Ellis said the show is negotiating with a New York Mini dealer for a car, which may end up the color of the shows car, Electric Blue.
Ellis missed advancing to the Showcase Showdown by 5 cents on the giant spinning wheel that she said is as heavy as it looks, but ended the day with $23,000 in prizes, including the car, and a chance to meet Carey.
Drew is the nicest man ever, she said. Its like doing the actual game isnt as fun for him as talking to the audience during commercial breaks. We told him we were in the arts, and he got really excited and told us about a drawing class he was taking, and then he started doing this dance from The Pirates of Penzance.
The episode was successful for more people than Ellis. Another contestant won $500 by picking the exact price, then won the Cliff Hangers game to win a $26,000 Kohler bathroom. A great-grandmother won a Hyundai Elantra in the Stack the Deck game. Only one contestant didnt win a game.
Everyone was just so nice it was such a community feeling, said Ellis. They know people are going to leave here with some major prizes, and theyre really happy for you.
The show can be viewed at www.cbs.com/shows/the_price_is_right/video/BKoQSfVMYMuqvUTU1AsxPM2urO_dU8pL/the-price-is-right-6-22-2016/. Ellis winning the Mini can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6gCNW5wFIY.
Ellis is now the dance coach and understudy for all the lead female roles in A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder, which won a 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical and now is touring throughout the U.S. She is a graduate of Penn State University who previously worked in Stardust Road: The Hoagy Carmichael Musical, and in playhouses in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Morgantown, W.Va., Elmsford, N.Y., and Ogunquit, Maine.
Its a wonderful job, and I love doing it, she said.