Second City Mainstage shows resume Friday

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Shows will resume this week at the Second City. The comedy operation’s offices were destroyed in an Aug. 26 fire that started in a first-floor restaurant in the Wells Street building. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

The Second City has announced dates for its post-fire return.

Chicago firefighters are invited to a special Mainstage show on Thursday, being held as a thank-you for the department’s work in saving the theater. That show will be the first performance since an Aug. 26 blaze destroyed its Piper Alley office spaces and left smoke and water damage in many of its public areas.

Second City officials have previously praised how firefighters went out of their way to prevent even worse damage; that included carefully diverting a torrent of water down a stairwell. Contributions will be collected after all Second City performances though the end of September and will be donated to the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. The Society serves widows and families of firemen and paramedics who list their lives in the line of duty. Donations can be made at

Following Thursday’s special performance, the company will resume its regular schedule through the weekend, with Mainstage shows beginning at 8 p.m. Friday. Second City had previously estimated that Mainstage shows would not resume Up Comedy Club shows begin Sept. 22, and Second City e.t.c. shows resume on Sept. 24.

Until further notice, classes will continue to be held at satellite spaces at Tribeca Flashpoint College, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and Columbia College.

The fire started in Adobo Grill, a restaurant on the first floor of a building next to the Second City entrance on Wells Street. The fire spread into the upper floors of the building, where Second City had its offices.

The theater’s most important artifacts — original scripts and photos — were not damaged because they have been stored at a secure off-site facility for years.

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