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‘Minute to Win It’ with Ensemble Stage

Article Published: Jan. 26, 2012 | Modified: Jan. 28, 2012
‘Minute to Win It’ with Ensemble Stage

Audience members are the contestants in Ensemble Stage’s crowd-favorite staged version of ‘Minute to Win It,’ returning to WinterFest Jan. 28.
Photos by Jeff Eason

Got a minute?

Ensemble Stage does, and so might some lucky WinterFesters.

The High Country’s only year-round professional theater group hosts “Minute to Win It,” a staged version of the popular game show, at Blowing Rock WinterFest Saturday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 at the door.

“We sold out (last year) and had standing room only,” managing director Lisa Lamont said. “It was a blast, so we decided to do it again.”

Ensemble’s staged version is based on the nationally televised game show of the same name, in which contestants compete through a variety of “fun and wacky” tasks, Lamont said.

Using audience members’ ticket stubs, host and artistic director Gary Smith will pick contestants from the audience to come on stage and take part in one-minute challenges, usually feats of dexterity.

“I probably shouldn’t say what the challenges are so people can’t practice, but we pulled most of them from past episodes of ‘Minute to Win It,’ like stacking cups without knocking things over,” Lamont said. “And there’s a time limit, obviously, which makes it even more challenging to concentrate, while the audience laughs at how silly they look.”

There will be four challenges, with each lasting about 15 minutes, Lamont said, adding that there will be a couple of individual games toward the end.

And, of course, there will be prizes, including day passes to Tweetsie Railroad, free stays at area hotels and gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.

“Last year, we had young kids and adults playing, so we try to get a variety of prizes that any age can enjoy,” Lamont said. “And we’re doing several challenges, so if you’re not chosen right off the bat, that doesn’t mean you won’t get chosen later.”

Ensemble Stage has produced live game shows for the last few WinterFest events, and Lamont said they’ve grown in popularity each year.

“We did a concert, ‘The Match Game’ and the ‘Not-Necessarily-Newlywed Game,’ just for something fun to do during WinterFest,” she said. “They were such a huge hit that people call us six, seven months in advance, asking what game shows we’re doing this year. They’re fun to do – and you get to watch people make silly fun of themselves.”

Ensemble Stage’s “Minute to Win It” takes place Saturday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m., in the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, located on Sunset Drive in downtown Blowing Rock. Tickets cost $5 and are only available at the door.

For more information, call (828) 414-1844 or visit

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