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 include: in California, the American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and Geffen Playhouse; the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts; the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky; in Oregon the Artists Repertory Theatre and Portland Center Stage; the Burning Coal Theatre Company in North Carolina; Childsplay in Arizona; Dallas Theater Center in Texas; Florida Studio Theatre in Florida; in Rhode Island the Trinity Repertory Company and the Gamm Theatre; Hartford Stage in Connecticut; HERE Arts Center in New York; McCarter Theatre Center in New Jersey; Seattle Repertory Theatre in Washington; Signature Theatre in Virginia; William Inge Center for the Arts in Kansas; The Wilma Theater in Pennsylvania and the Folger Theatre in the District of Columbia.