The Second City names Anthony LeBlanc interim executive producer amid turmoil
Andrew Alexander, the company’s co-owner and its longtime executive producer, earlier stepped down amid accusations of institutional racism.
The Second City has named Anthony LeBlanc as interim executive producer, effective immediately, it was announced Saturday.
LeBlanc most recently served as an artistic director for the famed Chicago improv company, and is also a part-time faculty member at Columbia College Chicago.
The appointment comes in the wake of Friday’s resignation by Second City co-owner/executive producer Anthony Alexander amid accusations of institutional racism at the company during his tenure.
“While The Second City has sometimes made strides in the diversity of talent performing on our stages, we have grossly fallen short when it comes to supporting that talent — and diversity at Second City — as whole. We must face the reality of our failings as an organization and hear the voices of our BIPOC performers, alumni, staff, students, and audience,” LeBlanc said in a statement. “I, We need to do better… because our community deserves better.”
LeBlanc has been a longtime teacher/resident director at Second City. His theatrical directing credits include productions of “Soul Brother, Where Art Thou?” for Second City e.t.c.; “Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains)” at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C.; “The Magic Negro and Other Blackity Blackness as Told by an African-American Man Who Also Happens to be Black” at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Georgia; and “The Second City’s Generation Gap” at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. He also wrote and performed in two Second City mainstage revues, “Taming of the Flu” and “America: All Better.”
In a deeply self-deprecating statement on Friday, Alexander wrote of his departure: “The Second City cannot begin to call itself anti-racist. That is one of the great failures of my life. ... There are so many things we didn’t do, but one of the things we did do was to engage facilitators in the field of anti-racism. I bring this up to acknowledge that it didn’t work. White employees of the Second City, myself included, participated in regular sessions taking place over months which outlined in detail the inherent biases in white society, and how those, consciously and unconsciously, oppress BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). ... On stage, we have always been on the right side of the issue, and of that, I am very proud. ... Offstage, it’s been a different story.”
As previously announced, the company will soon undertake a search for a long-term executive producer.