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Second City to Open Its First New York Outpost

The founders of Second Metropolis, the storied comedy theater, took its identify from essays by The New Yorker author A.J. Liebling, who skewered Chicago as inferior to his hometown. Now, greater than 60 years later, Second Metropolis has discovered a house in New York.

The improv stage and coaching heart, based mostly in Chicago since 1959, introduced on Thursday that it could open a location in New York Metropolis for the primary time. Over the a long time, Second Metropolis has opened outposts in Toronto and Hollywood, that are nonetheless in operation, in addition to in Detroit and Las Vegas, which have closed.

Beginning subsequent summer time, the establishment that was an early residence for performers resembling Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Keegan-Michael Key will even have a bodily location within the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, the corporate stated.

“As we got here out of the pandemic and noticed the resurgence of our levels and our shopper demand and the truth that we’re promoting out each evening, it grew to become extra instant for us to start out enthusiastic about growth,” stated Ed Wells, Second Metropolis’s chief government, who lately joined the corporate from the nonprofit group that produces “Sesame Road.”

“New York simply feels apparent,” he stated.

The growth will embody a predominant stage for performances, a stage for college students, a restaurant and lecture rooms, the corporate stated. It stated that New York, after Chicago and Hollywood, was its third-largest marketplace for digital lessons.

Comedy establishments have struggled throughout the coronavirus pandemic due to prolonged closures and the sluggish return of audiences. A couple of yr into the pandemic, Second Metropolis was offered to a non-public fairness group based mostly in New York — the primary time the corporate had modified possession for the reason that Nineteen Eighties.

Upright Residents Brigade, the storied improv and sketch comedy hub, cited “monetary pressure” when it closed its two Manhattan places in 2020, leaving a section of New York’s up-and-coming expertise wanting a brick-and-mortar coaching heart.

The final couple of years have been a interval of transformation for Second Metropolis. Along with the monetary challenges of the pandemic, there have been complaints in 2020 from performers of shade who instructed tales of being marginalized and tokenized. The corporate’s chief government and government producer, Andrew Alexander, resigned consequently, and the management pledged to “tear all of it down and start once more.”

Second Metropolis’s new management included Parisa Jalili, the chief working officer, and Jon Carr, an improv veteran and the corporate’s second Black government producer, who has since left the corporate. They stated final yr that they have been working to develop into a extra equitable establishment with extra various performers, in addition to to broaden the corporate’s attain.

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