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  • Jul 22 2014

    The Second City Training Center to Double its Pipers Alley Footprint

    The Second City, Inc. announced today the signing of a lease with Old Town Development Associates, L.L.C., to expand into additional space at Pipers Alley (230 W. North Avenue) formerly occupied by the four-screen AMC movie theater. The new space will allow The Second City Training Center, the largest school of comedy in the world, to add an array of student-centered facilities including new classrooms, two student theaters, a screening room, a student resource center, a student lounge and bar, two large special events spaces and additional space for the companies’ growing businesses. The new lease adds 25,000 square feet to The Second City Training Center's current 20,300 square feet of space essentially doubling the school's current footprint. In total, The Second City will occupy nearly 75,000 square feet in Chicago's Old Town.

    Named one of “The 25 Best Drama Schools in 2014” alongside Yale School of Drama, The Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon University by The Hollywood Reporter, The Second City continues to develop an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Last month, The Second City Training Center announced the launch of its TV, Film and Digital Program, under the direction of Jack C. Newell.  New classrooms will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology including voiceover studios, on-camera training studios and editing suites to accommodate the Digital Program launch.

    "We are very excited to enhance our students' experience with the development of this new space,” says Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “This will give the opportunity for more student performances in front of audiences, resources to enhance their education, places to work and collaborate, and program-specific materials and technology in classrooms. For our team, it's taking what's already a fantastic training institution and heightening it to the best experience possible for our students."

    The second-floor space at Pipers Alley first opened as a movie theater in 1991, and has been unoccupied since AMC went dark on May 26, 2011. The Training Center’s multi-million-dollar build-out begins immediately, with physical enhancements to include opening up the bricked-over 22-foot high window arches overlooking North Avenue and Wells Street.  The space is expected to be completed and serving students by spring of 2015.

    Long in the works, the expansion is in response to The Training Center’s desire to launch new and progressive programming while maintaining the high teacher to student ratio and enhancing the overall student experience. With the acquisition of the AMC space, the Second City Training Center can keep its educational programming under one roof – close to its history and next to its professional theaters. Students on a professional track can get even more stage time, and with the growth of the overall student body, additional theaters can accommodate end of term graduation performances. The new Student Resource Center will give students an actual on-site workspace.

    "For years we've been listening to student feedback and building this plan to fulfill their requests,” says Kerry Sheehan, President of the Second City Training Centers & Education Programs. “Not only will we be able to better accommodate our wait lists in core programs – such as improvisation and writing – but our newer initiatives into digital media and advanced classes for the professionally tracked student will have room to grow and thrive."

    The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theaters and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full-time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City Training Center has a current student body of 5,000 per week and is the largest school of comedy in the world.

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    More from the Chicago Tribune.


    7/22/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 16 2014

    The Second City Cocktail Contest!

    The Second City is remodeling our Toronto bar, and we want our patrons to help us concoct a couple of tasty new cocktails to add to our bar menu.

    Put your mixology skills to the test for your chance to win two free tickets to a Second City show, plus $25 gift card, bragging rights, and the chance to see your cocktail concoction featured on our bar menu!

    HERE'S THE SCOOP
    We’ve suggested two featured ingredients. All you have to do is visit our Facebook page, and add a comment with:

    1) A third featured ingredient
    2) Directions on how to prepare or serve your creation **
    3) An original name for your cocktail creation!

    ** Keep in mind: our bar functions at a very fast pace and complicated preparation steps slow down our service. So no flames, muddling or hoop jumping!

    It’s that simple! Check our Facebook or Twitter feed on Friday afternoon to see if your concoction has been chosen as the winner of our summer cocktail contest!

    7/16/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 10 2014

    George Morrison, Compass Player Alum, Dies at 86

    The Second City is saddened by the death of Compass Players director and esteemed acting teacher, George Morrison at the age of 86. In addition to being a director with the Compass Players, George also founded the New Actors Workshop with fellow Compass Players Mike Nichols and Second City co-founder Paul Sills in 1988.

    Our thoughts are with his friends and family. Click here to learn more about the life of George Morrison.

    7/10/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 10 2014

    SC Alums Sweep Up Emmy Nominations

    Congrats to all of our TourCo and SC resident stage alums that received Emmy Nominations last night!

    • Amy Poehler
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    • Stephen Colbert
    • Tina Fey
    • Tom Purcell
    • Paul Dinello
    • Keegan Michael Key
    • Rebecca Drysdale
    • Rich Talarico
    • Jane Lynch
    • Joshua Funk
    • Ian Roberts

    7/10/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jul 1 2014

    The Second City Remembers Paul Mazursky

    It is with great sadness that The Second City learned of the passing of film director, screenwriter, actor and Second City alum Paul Mazursky in Los Angeles last night. Mazursky earned an Oscar nomination for directing his first film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" in 1969. Other films he wrote and directed include the Oscar winning "Harry and Tonto," "An Unmarried Women" which was nominated for Best Picture and "Down and Out in Beverly Hills." Paul Mazursky performed with The Second City in 1961 in a long running engagement at the Ivar Theatre in Los Angeles. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.


    7/1/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 27 2014

    SC Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Help Fundraise

    The Second City has created an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money to support Gilda's Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund as a part of our All-Star Comedy Benefit. You have the option to donate as little as $10 to support the cause or you can purchase a $50 autographed poster or a few thousand dollars for VIP access for you and nine friends. Take a look at the details here and remember that every little bit helps!

    Thank you so much and we hope to see you at the event on July 17th!

    6/27/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 25 2014

    SC Alum Jason Sudeikis Cast in New Jared Hess Heist Comedy

    SC alum, Jason Sudeikis, is in talks to join Zach Galafianakis, Owen Wilson and Kristen Wiig in the Jared Hess-directed heist drama formerly known as Loomis Fargo, which is set up at Relativity Media. Sudeikis will play a hit man in the pic, which is based on an original screenplay by Emily Spivey and is getting a new title.

    For more details, click here.

    6/25/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 24 2014

    Mainstage Musical Director Speaks about Evolutoin of Role with Technology

    The handful of music directors at The Second City over the years have provided piano accompaniment some of the country's biggest stars during their formative years.

    What started as a role for a jazz pianist in 1959 has since transformed in tune with the greater music industry.

    Jesse Case, the theater's newest music director, still sits behind a grand piano, but is equipped with a synthesizer above the main set keys, a third keyboard down below for sound effects and industry standard audio programs on a laptop to his side...

    For the full interview, click here.

    6/24/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 24 2014

    New City Stage Recommends e.t.c's "Apes of Wrath"

    This is one of the strongest casts that I’ve seen on either stage at Second City and director Jen Ellison handles them with a deft hand, pulling the best out of each. Barreca, Breit and Patel are returning from the most recent e.t.c —the excellent “A Clowncar Named Desire”—and have upped their already impressive games considerably since then, while Mujica, Perlman and Ryder bring an air of newcomers excitement to the mix. The cast works well across the board, but the interspersed solo sketches serve to remind us that while we are indeed insignificant, we still crave individual attention from those around us.

    Read the full review here.

    6/24/2014 Comments (0)
  • Jun 19 2014

    SC Adds More Names to All-Star Benefit

    The Second City is excited to announce more alumni and friends to The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit line-up including Scott Adsit, Neil Flynn, Mike Hagerty, T.J. Jagodowski, David Koechner, Susan Messing, Katie Rich and Allison Tolman. They will be joining Aidy Bryant, Jack McBrayer, Tim Meadows, George Wendt, Fred Willard and Steven Yeun. The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit is a special one night fundraising event benefiting Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at The Second City Mainstage Theater (1616 N. Wells St). Performances will be at 7:00p and 10:00p. Tickets are on sale now at www.SecondCity.com.

    Featuring a hilarious cast of alumni and friends, The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit includes improv and some of the best scenes from The Second City’s 54-year history for one night of legendary laughs at the birthplace of Chicago-style improv and sketch comedy. Scheduled performers include Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Mike Hagerty (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mob City), T.J. Jagodowski (TJ & Dave), David Koechner (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Dad!), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls), Susan Messing (Messing with a Friend), Katie Rich (Saturday Night Live), Allison Tolman (Fargo), George Wendt (Cheers), Fred Willard (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Modern Family) and Steven Yeun (Walking Dead). This line-up is subject to change based on availability.

    Proceeds from The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit will go to Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund.

    VIP Tickets for The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit are $500.00, and include a post-show private cocktail reception.  Premium tickets which include two cocktails and a souvenir glass will be available for $300.00 and a limited number of seats are available for $250.00. Tickets are now on sale at www.SecondCity.com.

    The Second City is pleased to work with The James Chicago in partnership for The James' new Cultural Collection, a curated group of partners representing Chicago’s dynamic and vibrant cultural communities.

    About Gilda’s Club Chicago
    Gilda’s Club Chicago offers FREE programs for men, women, teens and children and their family and friends whose lives have been impacted by any kind of cancer. Their mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

    About The Second City Alumni Fund
    The Alumni Fund of The Second City is a resource fund for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams at The Second City and SCTV. The Alumni Fund provides counseling and/or short-term financial aid to assist in expenses for health, housing and rehabilitation after an illness, injury or sudden inability to work.

    6/19/2014 Comments (0)