The Opolis, Norman's little hallway that could, is adding another facet to its steadily growing repertoire with its first-ever "Game Night," a hodgepodge of classic game shows punched up with a little local flair.
"When we first opened the Opolis, the original idea was to do more than just music," said club owner and Starlight Mints drummer Andy Nunez. "We wanted to do some film, bring some comedians in, do the music thing, and try to do some sort of game night.
"That was a million years ago, and we've done a little bit of all of those things now, except the game night. We had been pushing it off forever, and it was important that we set a date, say we were going to do something and try to do it."
Nunez describes Friday's "Game Night" as a test run, but said he is pulling out all stops for the production. Andrew and his wife, Marian, have enlisted the help of several local sponsors, including filmmakers Nate and Stephanie Foll, a question-writing panel, and " most interestingly " a couple of Normanites with some high-profile game show experience of their own. Steve "Wampus" Reynolds of Norman's Forward Foods has appeared on both "Win Ben Stein's Money" and "Jeopardy," and Sascha Ingram was a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Both will be participating in Friday's 8 p.m. show, which Nunez said will feature contestants randomly selected from the audience.
"People will buy the tickets and fill out their information on the back, and those tickets will be shuffled," Nunez explained. "We'll pull a name, and that person will be approached by Wampus and asked a qualifying question " something that isn't too hard, not too strict. We don't want to take an hour to get contestants."
CASH AND PRIZES
Guided by Ingram, qualified players will then participate in heats, leading up to the show's final round, in which contestants compete for cash and prizes.
"Sascha will host, doing the chitchat, dialogue, maybe some song and dance. Who knows?" Nunez said. "We're working on a script right now."
Friday's question topic is, appropriately enough, Norman " with questions centered around local businesses, restaurants, music, culture and the University of Oklahoma.
"There are a lot of fun questions that are unique to Norman," Nunez said. "We'll have lots of data on hand, so there's plenty to be tested. But anyone can participate, if they feel like they've spent enough time in Norman. Anybody who feels like they have enough Norman in them to compete."
If Friday's show is a success, Nunez hopes to direct a portion of future game show proceeds to a local charity.
The bottom line, Nunez said, is to do something a little out of the ordinary.
"We want to make it different for the Opolis, have a different feel in there that night. Something a little strange," Nunez said. "We're going to customize the music and feel of it so it has a certain personality, but because it's the first one, we're not sure what that personality is going to be. Like anything, we'll shoot for the moon, and we'll make it as good as we can get it to be. I mean, everyone loves playing games, right?" "Becky Carman