Second City plans expansion to New York

A new space in Brooklyn will supplement the existing theaters in Chicago and Toronto.

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An illustration depicts the space that Second City plans to open in Brooklyn.

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The Second City is expanding to a third city, announcing a plan to open a New York theater to supplement its long-running locations in Chicago and Toronto.

The Chicago-based comedy company said Thursday that the new space will be located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The 11,900-square-foot complex is expected to have a mainstage theater, seven classrooms for teaching improv and other theatrical skills, and a full-service restaurant and bar. It is set to open next summer.

While The Second City has sent troupes to New York before to put on shows in borrowed theaters, this will be the first time the company operates its own dedicated space there.

Other Second City locations have come and gone over the years in cities including northwest suburban Rolling Meadows; Santa Monica, California; Cleveland; Las Vegas, and Detroit. A Hollywood outpost offered shows and classes until going totally virtual in 2020.

“New York City is a renowned hub for talent and culture, and we could not be more thrilled to bring The Second City’s unique brand of improv-based entertainment and education to the city as we continue to foster the next generation of comedy,” said The Second City’s new CEO, Ed Wells, in a statement. “We launch at a time of tremendous momentum for the brand, expanding our footprint in Toronto, Canada and garnering critical acclaim for our latest shows. We look forward to serving the New York City market across all of our services and bringing smiles, laughter and the full Second City experience to the Big Apple.”

The announcement is the most ambitious move yet by The Second City’s current owner, New York-based private equity firm ZMC, which acquired the 63-year-old company in 2021. Wells had cited “geographical expansion” as one of his goals when he was hired last month.

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