It's happening in some towns. A few ideas for covering the story locally.

The rough economy is even impacting the summer theater season.

The State Journal Register in a nice report today shows how numerous local and regional theater companies are canceling shows this year or killing full programs, all thanks to the economy.

The story says:

• One local park has reduced its shows by 25 percent this summer.
• A semi-professional program at the University of Illinois canceled the entire 2010 season.
• Corporate sponsorship spending is down, significantly contributing to theater company financial woes.

There are a bunch of interesting angles here:

• Are you in a town or region where residents attend theater at a local college or university? Or does funding for a theater group come from a higher education institution? If your state government is anything like Illinois, cuts to those institutions are coming fast and hard and that means funding for programs like university theater are being cut.

• Does your city's parks and recreation department offer local theater? With city budgets tightening, is your local theater being impacted if it's funded through the city?

• Programs that aren't being killed, but aren't doing as well as they used to, are considering partnerships with other theater groups and are finding creative ways of staying alive, such as seeking more volunteer talent.

The budget drama isn't just a local story. This story says that while Broadway made more than $1 billion last year, attendance was way down.

(Every day David Arkin offers his Wake Up Call!, with ideas and resources on localizing content for your local newspaper).