The Kennedy Center Announces Partnership With The Second City

By The Second City | Mar 13, 2018

There’s about to be even more to laugh at in Washington:

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced a new partnership with The Second City, the famed Chicago-based sketch comedy company. The partnership draws on the respective strengths of each organization to extend the creative capacity, reach, and impact of both brands, and will result in new, original productions at the Kennedy Center and beyond.

Elements of the Kennedy Center/The Second City partnership include:

  • Producing six original, sketch-style shows, which will be slated for multi-week runs in the Kennedy Center’s Theater Lab in summers and during the holiday season through at least 2020.
  • Co-commissioning and development of new sketch-style and full-length, scripted theater works that have the potential to tour beyond Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
  • Engaging Second City alumni in co-commissioning of narrative theater scripts.
  • Enhanced offerings within Kennedy Center Education programs for both young audiences and adults. Activities may include hands-on workshops for adults and young people, workshops for educators, and producing performances specifically for young audiences.

The first products of the new Kennedy Center/The Second City partnership will debut in Summer 2018. Details of an all-new summer sketch show, plus dates and registration information for improvisation and stand-up workshops, will be announced as part of the District of Comedy Festival on March 20, and details of the all-new, holiday-themed show will be announced as part of the 2018-2019 Theater season announcement on April 10.

“Washington audiences have an insatiable appetite for smart and witty humor. We can all look forward to the fresh stories and big laughs that will emerge from this new relationship with The Second City,” said Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center. “From a brand perspective, partnering with The Second City strengthens several Kennedy Center priorities, including our commitment to producing original theater, to elevating comedy as an art form, and to deepening educational opportunities for both young people and adults.”

“While the stark reality may be that Washington is already rife with comedians, The Second City is over the moon that the Kennedy Center has elected to enter into this unique partnership, because we now have a creative co-conspirator that is fully invested in collaborating with us through the entire artistic process to develop, shape, and launch thrilling new works,” said CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City Andrew Alexander.

The Second City made its Kennedy Center debut in 1996 in a sketch-style show that featured Steve Carrell, Adam McKay, Tim Meadows, and others. The troupe returned to the Center for the first time in 2016 and has since performed several productions to popular and critical acclaim, including “The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America,” “Twist Your Dickens,” and “When Life Gives you Clemens.”

Read the full press release at

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