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Kennedy Center celebrates 40th year with free ticket giveaway

The Kennedy Center turns 40 in September (I'm always happy to bore anyone with my memories of attending the very first public performance there -- at an impossibly young age, needless to say).

To mark the birthday, two free tickets will be offered to every Kennedy Center– presented performance during the 2011–2012 season.

This generous gesture coincides with the launch of something called MyTix, a project aimed at helping more of the 18-to-30-year-old set, active duty armed services personnel and other under-served members of the community gain access to Kennedy Center events.

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MyTix is part of the broader Rubenstein Arts Access Program, funded by Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and his wife Alice Rubenstein.

The good news for those who don't meet the target demographics of MyTix is that the birthday blast ticket giveaway is "open to all," according to the press release out today. So go for it.

(If they threw in the $20 parking garage fee, it would be an even better prize, but freebie recipients can't be greedy.)

Here's what you have to do for a chance at winning some tickets:

Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, register for the ticket giveaway at kennedy-center.org/kc40. (I would provide a link, but it's not active yet.) Alternatively, you can stop by the Kennedy Center's box office or call 202-467-4600.

The fine print: You can indicate the arts genre you are most interested in, but you are not guaranteed tickets in that genre if you win.

The add-on: All entrants will be eligible for one of three Grand Prizes: free tickets to the Kennedy Center Honors, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, or the National Symphony Orchestra's Season Opening Ball.

Registration closes Sept. 19. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email by Sept. 22.

As for the MyTix project, which will offer assorted discounts, free ticket offers and more throughout the year to participants who meet the age or military status requirements, registration opens at 10 a.m. Sept. 19.

SUN FILE PHOTO OF KENNEDY CENTER OPERA HOUSE

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