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Second City cancels shows through Sept. 20

Shows at Second City have now been canceled through Sept. 20 due to a fire that destroyed the comedy theater's offices and damaged its performance spaces. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

It appears that post-fire cleanup and restoration at The Second City will take longer than expected.

The company announced Friday that it will move or cancel all performances scheduled in their Mainstage, e.t.c. and UP Comedy Club theaters through Sept. 20. Customers will be contacted by The Second City box office to issue refunds or will be offered the option to book for future performances.

“After 10 days it’s clear this process will take more time than initially anticipated,” Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer of The Second City, said in a statement issued Friday morning.

“While the theaters were left in very good condition, there are issues with the common areas, as well as smoke and water damage that must be addressed before we allow talent, staff and audiences in any of our spaces. It takes time to clean 82,000-square-feet after a three-alarm fire.”

For complete updates in performances and classes visit www.SecondCity.com.

“If we have an opportunity to open earlier, we absolutely will,” a statement posted on the theater’s website said. “In the meantime, tickets are on sale for future performances and we hope to see you there.”

The Aug. 26 fire in a Wells Street restaurant destroyed the Second City offices. The theater previously had canceled shows through this Sunday.

Carpet and ceiling tiles in the comedy company’s two theaters is being replaced due to minor water damage, as is some drywall, Tyler Alexander, Second City’s vice president of brand and marketing, said earlier this week.

Much of the staff has taken up temporary residence at office space set up at a building at Dearborn and Madison, while Training Center classes will be moved to several locations — Tribeca Flashpoint College, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and Columbia College — until further notice.

The fire started in Adobo Grill, which was 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.

Second City actors and employees are planning a free show for the 150 Chicago firefighters and paramedics who worked helped save their beloved theater.

As about a foot-and-a-half of water filled the room above the Main Stage theater, firefighters worked to divert the water to a nearby stairwell to avoid damage to the theater.

Three people were hospitalized from the fire, including two firefighters. Fire officials say the flames began in the kitchen of the Adobo Grill, then quickly shot up the kitchen vent and spread to the roof of the building.

Contributing: Mitch Dudek, Tina Sfondeles