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Score discounted tickets to local theaters

October 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Southern California, tickets to top-notch stage shows can easily cost $50 to $100, but you can score tickets at cut-rate prices on several different websites.There are hundreds of live theaters in the Southland, from major playhouses like the Ahmanson and the Geffen to small neighborhood venues that seat just a few dozen people.

Several websites offer discounted prices to shows every day, and in October, local theater companies are offering thousands of tickets to plays for free.

Actress Brooke Shields is starring in the new musical, "Leap of Faith" at the Ahmanson Theatre. The box office sells orchestra tickets for $95, but through Goldstar.com, that price can be slashed in half.

Even with Goldstar's $8.50 service fee, it costs just $56 for a prime seat, a savings of nearly $40 per ticket.

Another website that offers substantial savings is Plays411.net. Like other websites, if you sign up online, you'll receive e-mail alerts for half-price tickets to current and future shows.

Terence McFarland, the executive director for the L.A. Stage Alliance, said playhouses routinely offer discounted tickets so everyone can afford going to the theater.

"It's also a way to build their audience. It's a way to invite new folks in, to invite guests over who might enjoy what they see and come back and pay full price at a later date," McFarland explained.

The alliance's LAStageTix website offers discount tickets to some 500 shows a year, including, "Merry Wives of Windsor" at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in Santa Monica and "Ruined" at the Geffen Playhouse.

Another website, TheaterExtras.com does not sell tickets but arranges complimentary tickets for its paying membership, which starts at $99 a year.

The potential savings can be substantial. Subscribers can receive an unlimited number of tickets to shows like "Beast on the Moon" at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center and "Dear Harvey," based on the writings of the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Theater Extras charges a service fee of $4 per ticket. If you go to the theater once a week, you could save thousands of dollars a year.

However, since the website works with show producers to fill unsold seats, they want you to show up. So if you buy tickets and don't show up, you could be charged $20 a ticket for a no-show.

On a special note, the L.A. Stage Alliance is offering an incredible deal right now to introduce people to the theater. They are giving away thousands of seats to dozens of shows playing in October.

You can register online for a chance to see up to five plays for free. The deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m.


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