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Half the price, double the fun

June 08, 2003|Don Shirley

L.A. theater patrons seeking discount tickets are usually told to go to Theatre LA's Web site (www.theatrela.org), where the Web Tix service bills itself as "Southern California's only on-line, half-price ticket service for theaters in Los Angeles County."

That "only" isn't accurate. Goldstar Events operates a smaller but similar service at www.goldstarevents.com.

On a recent Wednesday, Goldstar was offering seven shows at half-price, while Web Tix had 27. But Goldstar listed two shows not available at Web Tix: "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" at the Ahmanson Theatre and "The Drawer Boy" at South Coast Repertory.

Goldstar offers other attractions. Events range from comics to music and dance to L.A.'s Avengers (arena football) and Galaxy (soccer).

Jim Royce, Center Theatre Group marketing director, said the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Forum try to allocate an equal number of tickets to the services.

Created in February 2002 by three e-commerce veterans, the Altadena-based Goldstar sold $25,000 worth of tickets last month, said co-founder Jim McCarthy. It has an e-mail list numbering 10,000.

Both Goldstar and Web Tix earn revenue with service charges ranging from $2 to $6 per ticket. There is no charge to event producers to go on Goldstar. Web Tix participants must belong to Theatre LA, which charges membership fees ranging from $295 to $1,800. However, Theatre LA President Lee Wochner said his organization received $64,000 in dues last year and returned $250,000 to members via Web Tix sales. (As of July 1, the names of Theatre LA and Web Tix will change to L.A. Stage Alliance and L.A. Stage Tix, respectively.)

-- Don Shirley

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