Live theater struggling to stay afloat in Los Angeles

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You've heard the saying, 'The show must go on,' but will it? New York has Broadway, but in Los Angeles, live theater is struggling to stay afloat. (KABC)

You've heard the saying, "The show must go on," but will it? New York has Broadway, but in Los Angeles, live theater is struggling to stay afloat.

Los Angeles is a city built on entertainment, but while the movies and television industries are flourishing, live theater isn't.

"The institution of live theater is challenged," said actor Jason Alexander.

Most people associate Alexander with television. For nine seasons, he played George Costanza on "Seinfeld."

But Alexander is also a Tony Award-winning stage actor, and as part of the Town Hall Los Angeles speaker series, he spent about an hour spelling out the problems live theater is facing here in Southern California.

"In many ways, it's not a priority in this town. There's a lot of things in this town that are much higher up the food chain," Alexander said.

In New York, it's a different story. Alexander says Broadway pulls in some $30 million a week.

L.A. theaters, though, are struggling to fund stage productions, changing the way theater is presented here.

"We are forced to do shows that are smaller, that have smaller casts, that have one set, that can have a representational set, that have no set," Alexander said.

But Alexander admits that solutions to L.A.'s theater woes are not easily found.

One suggestion he has is to take advantage of all the talent that makes Hollywood the entertainment capital of the world.

"Some of the greatest artists on every level - actors, directors, writers, designers, composers, choreographers - they're here! And I can tell you, most of us have a lot of downtime in between projects," he said.

Alexander said one big problem is that fewer people are subscribing to theater productions, which means paying upfront for the whole season of shows.

This, in turn, is driving up ticket prices, which is pricing a lot of people out of the theater, Alexander said.

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