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Lure of Cheap Seats : Theaters hope to build audiences with discount passes ranging from $5 for one ticket to $50 for unlimited attendance.


The Valley Theatre League has come up with an extra incentive to get you into a local theater--a discount theater pass program called Valley Theatre Expo '95.

Single ticket passes, good at any participating venue, will be $5; a 10-admission pass book will be $35, and an unlimited pass, good for unlimited attendance for one person, is $50. All passes are valid from June 15 through Sept. 17.

Theatre League vice president Edmund Gaynes says the league wants more people to sample the San Fernando Valley's professional theaters.

"We're doing it to raise visibility for all the theaters," Gaynes says. "And to let people know that we're here and what we're doing."

Valley theaters participating in the program are the Actors Forum Theatre, Alliance Repertory Company, American Renegade Theatre, Chandler Studio, Group Repertory Theatre, Interact Theater, Limelight Playhouse, Lionstar Theatre, Two Roads Theatre, Whitefire Theatre, Woodland Hills Community Theatre and others.

For various reasons, several prominent Valley theaters, including Actors Alley, the Road Theatre Company and Theatre West, decided not to participate in the discount ticket program, Gaynes says.

Expo '95 tickets will be on sale at the Valley Theatre League booth at the NoHo Performing Arts Festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday on Lankershim Boulevard between Magnolia and Chandler boulevards. For more information about the tickets, call (818) 757-3018.

TWO ONE-ACTS: Someone once said, "In every fat book, there is a thin book trying to get out." The same could be said for plays. Two Valley venues are currently mounting festivals of one-act plays, Theatre West in Universal City and the Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts in North Hollywood.

The Sanford Meisner One-Act Festival is the inaugural project of the new Meisner center. Festival producer Jill Gatsby says the new center, named after the famed acting teacher, will be a teaching environment as well as an entertainment venue.

"The center will be a place for directors, actors and writers to come and learn to speak the same language," Gatsby says. Eventually, "it will make things faster and easier."

Meisner, 90, is the president of the center and Martin Barter is artistic director. The center is to be a place for Meisner's former students to experiment with projects.

The festival, which opened May 19, has featured nine one-act plays written by such luminaries as Horton Foote, Lanford Wilson and others.

Theatre West's One-Act Festival is an outgrowth of its writers workshop, designed to promote its writers and their work. These are workshop productions of eight pieces that are essentially works in progress. Stage and screen veterans Betty Garrett and Philip Abbott, members of Theatre West, will be featured in Daniel Keough's "Tom Tom on a Rooftop."

Other plays being presented include "A Bridge Game" by Terry Kingsley-Smith, "A Whole Lot of Incredible" by Sol Saks and "Stop Gap" by Mary Portser. Workshop moderator Arden Lewis says she hopes to make the festival an annual event.

The Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts, 5124 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, presents its one-act festival at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 25. Tickets are $10. Call (818) 509-9651.

Theatre West, 333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Universal City, presents its one-act festival at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday through July 2. Tickets are $8. Call (213) 851-7977.

BLUES BEAUCOUP: Everybody sings the blues sometimes, and it seems they're all going to be at Paramount Ranch in Agoura next weekend.

The Topanga Blues and Heritage Festival, featuring Brenda Burns & the Chill Aces, King Ernest & the Wild Knights, Frankie Lee, Juke Logan, Cash McCall and others, is co-sponsored by the Southern California Blues Society and the National Park Service.

In addition to the music, the festival also will have a variety of food, art and other vendors plus a children's area with activities for the younger-than-12 crowd. Tickets are $18.50 in advance, and $23 at the gate. Children 11 and younger are admitted free. Bring a low-back lawn chair. Picnic baskets also are welcome. Organizers request no alcoholic beverages be brought to the event.

The Topanga Blues and Heritage Festival starts at 10 a.m. June 17 at Paramount Ranch, Cornell Way, Agoura. Call (800) 498-6870.

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