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Free theater tickets? If you're 25 or younger, Center Theatre Group has a new deal for you

Free theater tickets? If you're 25 or younger, Center Theatre Group has a new deal for you
Michelle Wilson, left, James Colby and Johanna Day in the Public Theater's production of "Sweat" by Lynn Nottage. The new FreePlay program is giving away tickets to the first preview of the touring production coming to the Mark Taper Forum. (Joan Marcus)

In an effort to lure a new generation of theatergoers, Center Theatre Group on Friday will start giving people 25 and younger free tickets to the first preview of productions at the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

The new program, called FreePlay and announced by Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, launches at 10 a.m. Friday. Anyone 25 and younger can reserve up to two free tickets for “Sweat” at the Taper (first preview Aug. 29) and “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” at the Kirk Douglas (first preview Sept. 2).

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Reservations are free if made in person at the box office or $5 if they are made online through CTGLA.org/FreePlay or by phone at (213) 628-2772. Tickets are held at will call and must be picked up with valid ID at least 30 minutes prior to curtain.

For other shows later in the season, FreePlay reservations will open about two weeks before the first preview. Center Theatre Group said it will try to ensure that at least 100 FreePlay seats are allotted for every production. The company will not cap how many total FreePlay tickets will be available for any given show.

The idea, Ritchie said in a statement, is to remove barriers to experiencing live theater.

“It’s imperative that we strive to create a more vibrant Los Angeles with a stronger cultural fabric that supports such accessible experiences,” he said.

“Sweat” is the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Lynn Nottage that explores the sociopolitical, Trump-era landscape of a working-class Pennsylvania town through patrons in a fictional bar.

“School Girls,” by Jocelyn Bioh, follows the trials and tribulations of a queen bee at an exclusive boarding school in Ghana who aspires to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

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