One thing they don't mention on the studio tours is that a lot of what ends up in a movie or tv show isn't shot at a studio. Southern California is full of on location filming and if you want to try to catch some while you're visiting, here are some tips.
A lot of productions use bright yellowish-orange signs to lead cast and crew to the filming site. They will have a big arrow and some type of abbreviation of the show's title. So, for example, a movie titled "Virtual Tourist" would have a sign that said Virtual or Tourist or even VT. If you have the time in your schedule and you pass one of these signs, follow the arrows and see where it takes you. Film locations will be easy to spot because there are always a lot of trailers around (they haul everything from the camera equipment to the wardrobes) and big, bright lights.
Once you find a filming site, bear in a mind you may not be allowed to stay and watch. If you are, you have to be very quiet and cannot take pictures while they are actually filming. You also want to make sure you park your car somewhere that is not in the filming area. Anything that causes the crew to have to wait or reshoot will be severely frowned upon because the saying "time is money" is very true in the film industry.
If you don't have a lot of time on your visit and can't just drive around following signs, try going to downtown LA on a Sunday. There's almost always something being filmed down there and Sundays are popular because the traffic isn't as heavy as a weekday.
Another thing to keep in mind is that lately a lot of banks selling off foreclosed homes have been using those bright yellowish-orange signs for their repo/open houses so not every sign that color is going to be for filming. Be sure to read exactly what the sign says before you waste any gas following those arrows.
Since its inception in 1967, the Ahmanson Theatre has presented a wide variety of dramas, musicals, comedies and classic revivals, including 13 plays by Neil Simon (six world premieres) and the works of such leading American playwrights as Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, A.R. Gurney, John Guare and Edward Albee. The Ahmanson has been represented on Broadway as a co-producer of the award-winning productions of Amadeus, Mathew Bourne's Swan Lake, Smokey Joe's Cafe, August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running and Seven Guitars,and Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella. With the closing of The Phantom of the Opera in August 1993 after a record-breaking four-year run, the Ahmanson embarked on a $17 million renovation project. The redesign enhanced theatre acoustics, improved sight lines and brings artists and audiences closer together by moving the mezzanine and balcony nearer to the stage, lowering the ceiling, reducing the width of the auditorium, and developing new side boxes. In addition, the unique, state-of-the-art reconfiguration provides for variable seating capacity from 1,600 - 2,000 seats, allowing the theatre to adjust the size of the house to accommodate a greater variety of plays, from the intimate to the spectacular. The project also included the remodeling of the theatre lobbies, as well as the forecourt between the Ahmanson and the Mark Taper Forum. The new Ahmanson re-opened in January 1995 with a limited nine-month engagement of the musical sensation Miss Saigon. The premiere season in the new Ahmanson began with Candide, which was directed by Gordon Davidson. Since 1989, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County has been under the guidance of Artistic Director/Producer Gordon Davidson, who has also served as the Artistic Director for the CTG/Mark Taper Forum for the past 34 years. Center Theatre Group believes that theatre is a cultural force and has the capacity to transform the lives of individuals and society at large. CTG is dedicated to theatrical work that positively affects perceptions of the world, expands the sense of the possible, and illuminates the human experience. This is where I had the opportunity to see my all time favorite play..... of course: Les Miserables!!!!!!!
Somethimes you can get tickets to go in a show for free. Just ask the guys on the main streets. Some of this shows are very interesting. You can see the american way to make shows.