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Live, on stage -- it's you

Center Theatre Group offers cheap seats, and some amid the action.

November 05, 2008|Diane Haithman | Haithman is a Times staff writer.

Turn off all cellphones and pagers -- and for heaven's sake, don't sing.

Center Theatre Group -- which oversees the Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas theaters and the Mark Taper Forum -- recently announced its recession-minded Entertainment Stimulus Package, making available 100,000 tickets at $20 for all performances at the three venues for the 2008-09 season, with no limitations.

For the Ahmanson's current offering, the musical "Spring Awakening" -- which opened Thursday and continues through Dec. 7 -- there's another bargain option that is not quite as inexpensive, but definitely higher-profile: There are 26 tickets available for each show at $30 a pop for onstage seats that put audience members in the middle -- or at least, on the sides -- of the action. There is a two-ticket limit for each seven-day period.

This is not just a CTG phenomenon -- the Broadway "Spring Awakening" as well as touring productions have offered onstage seating. In fact, on Broadway this is something of a mini-trend: "Xanadu" and "Equus" have also offered onstage seats.

Of course, it's not easy being a star. At the Ahmanson, stage-sitters must place all coats, bags and personal items in lockers before the show. No late seating. You get your program at the end of the show -- can't have you dropping it onstage. No restroom breaks except at intermission. No bright-colored clothing, either.

As your reward for compliance, you get an obstructed view of the performance.

And an Ahmanson information sheet warns patrons that the "high energy" show contains partial nudity, adult language and situations, as well as intense scenes and situations. "Restraint is required. . . . Sensitive individuals should not sit in this area," it reads.

Still interested?

The tickets are available at the box office or by phone, but not online because CTG prefers that potential onstage ticket buyers get a briefing from a sales representative.

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diane.haithman@latimes.com

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