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Theaters start program for military families, vets

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Nearly two dozen theaters around the country will offer free and discounted tickets for plays, classes and other services to veterans and military families under a program being launched this week that builds off a similar one for museums.

The Blue Star Theatre program will be launched at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence on Friday by National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride of the Rhode Island National Guard and others, Reed’s office announced Thursday.

The program is a partnership of Blue Star Families, a national, non-profit network of military families, the NEA, the national theater organization the Theatre Communications Group and the participating theaters.

The program will offer workshops and playwriting classes to veterans, job postings and casting notices on military bases.

It was inspired by the Blue Star Museums program, in which more than 1,800 museums nationwide offer free or reduced summer admission to military families. That program launched in 2010.

Reed, a former Army Ranger, called the theater program a natural extension of the Obama administration’s Joining Forces initiative to support military families.

“These types of programs remind our troops and their families how much we value and appreciate their service to our nation,” he said.

The participating theaters in California include the American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and Geffen Playhouse.

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