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Black Excellence Revue Returns to The Second City

The Black Excellence Revue Returns to The Second City in 2024

CHICAGO, IL – The 2024 Black Excellence Revue, titled Black By Popular Demand, is a groundbreaking comedy experience presented by The Second City. Back to banish the winter blues and fill the Windy City with laughter and good vibes, this show opens February 9, 2024, and runs through May 25, 2024.

Following up the completely sold-out engagement in 2023, Rob Wilson returns to direct this year’s revue, bringing together a dynamic cast of future stars, showcasing their hilarity with new songs, sketches, and the world-renowned style of improv that has become synonymous with The Second City. At The Black Excellence Revue, the audience is part of the show, echoing the vibrant ambiance of The Apollo.

Featuring an all BIPOC cast and crew, the production welcomes back cast members Arlieta Hall and Adonis Holmes. Devonte Washington returns as Stage Manager. The Second City is thrilled to welcome aboard the newest additions to the cast Breanna Ghostone, Samuel B. Jackson, Deshawn Mason and Faith Valerie. Tony Santiago joins as Associate Director and Sean Sykes joins as Musical Director. The rest of the crew includes Brenden Marble (Lighting Designer), Breon Arzell (Choreographer) and Chelsey Carter (Stylist).

The producing team includes Bryon Henderson (Producer), Elizabeth Howard (VP of Production) and Jen Ellison (Artistic Director). The Black Excellence Revue’s commitment to showcasing diversity in comedy is celebrated in the show’s blend of new original material, classic hits, and improvised mayhem reflecting a broad spectrum of experiences and perspectives that promises to engage, entertain, and delight audiences.

Performances take the stage on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm for 16 weeks. Last year’s run was entirely sold out, so audiences are encouraged to book their tickets early.

Tickets start at $29.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at secondcity.com.

Meet the Cast:

BREANNA GHOSTONE (Ensemble) is a multi-talented artist, represented by Gray Talent Group, known for her versatility in singing, acting, and dancing. She holds a Master’s degree in Opera and Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University and previously earned a Bachelor’s degree in Opera Performance from The University of Michigan. Breanna has left her mark in the world of musical theater, with notable performances in productions like Hairspray (Power Center for Performing Arts), Legally Blonde The Musical (Evelyn Smith Theatre), West Side Story (The Phoenix Theatre Company), Sing Out Second City (The Second City), New Faces Sing Broadway 1947 (Porchlight Theatre), and Trouble in Mind (TimeLine Theatre). Beyond the stage, Breanna has delved into the realm of on-camera work, contributing to educational industrials for respected companies such as Verizon Wireless and McGraw Hill. She is deeply passionate about supporting black film projects, having been involved in endeavours like The Detroit Project and The FUNNEL, both of which explore themes of black love, displacement, and resilience. Additionally, Breanna has showcased her talent in the commercial world, featuring in advertisements for well-known brands like Gatorade and AutoZone, and more recently, Crunch Fitness. Her versatility and dedication to the arts make her a dynamic and impactful presence in the entertainment industry. Breanna is thrilled to be back at Second City for the Black Excellence Revue!

ARLIETA HALL (Ensemble) is a host, actress, improviser, stand-up comedian, writer, and a first-time filmmaker from Chicago. She is a one of The Second City NBC Bob Curry Fellowship 2021 recipients. Arlieta also co-starred as Sadie on Showtime’s The CHI episodic and is a co-producer of the comedy variety show My Best Friend is Black. Arlieta was a caregiver for her father who died from Alzheimer’s disease. She took the power of “Yes, and…” to communicate with him and used their story to make her first feature documentary “Finding Your Laughter”. Her film was one of ten documentaries selected to participate in The New York Gotham Documentary Feature Lab, which is one of the US film industry’s most prestigious labs. Prior to caregiving for her father Arlieta was an Human Services Caseworker for the State Of Illinois Department of Human Services . Arlieta also obtained her Bachelor of Arts In Communications and has over a decade of experience in the educational and social services field. She recently wrote and performed in The Second City’s sold-out 2023 Black Excellence Revue and is now a 2023-24 Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellow. She is currently performing comedy all around while she continues to work on the completion of Finding Your Laughter and other projects. Follow Arlieta and catch her around the city at www.findingyourlaughter.com www.arlietahall.com and @Arlieta_Hall_ on social media.

ADONIS HOLMES (Ensemble) is a Writer, Performer, and Comedian out of Chicago. Adonis graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors in Psychology and Anthropology. Having produced, directed, and written several shows in the Champaign-Urbana community, he started taking improv classes and regularly performing at the iO Theater. Adonis has been featured in several sketch shows throughout the city, including Chicago Sketch Fest and the Best of Annoyance sketch show, along with being a principal writer and performer for Second City’s Dance Like There are Black People Watching: A Black Excellence Revue. Currently Adonis is a member of Devil’s Daughter Improv, the independent improv team The Mermaids, a 2022 Bob Curry Fellow, and serves as Director and Co-creator of the all-Black improv show, Satirical Race Theory. Adonis also serves as Co-Artistic Director of the iO Theater.

SAMUEL B. JACKSON (Ensemble) is excited to be making his comedy debut at The Second City! He’s performed on several stages across Chicago, including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, and the Black Ensemble Theatre. Proudly repped by Stewart Talent, you can find him on IG @samuelbjackson

DESHAWN MASON (Ensemble) Born in New York City, raised in the South. Deshawn started his comedic journey over 11 years ago in Charleston, SC. His first foray into the art form was stand-up comedy. Now over a decade into the process, Deshawn has performed nationwide. Hitting multiple stages for comedy festivals, headlining gigs, and anything he can sink his teeth into. Deshawn’s love and exploration truly in Savannah, GA in 2021, just two years later, and over 300 different improv shows he’s excited to share what he’s learned. He’s also an aficionado of Magic, Sketch Comedy, Acting, food, and conversation. He can’t wait to meet you.

FAITH VALERIE (Ensemble) is an actress, writer, dancer, singer, and model from Plainfield, IL. Her Second City career began while she was taking improv classes last year, during which she became an understudy for Dance Like There Are Black People Watching. She attended the University of Notre Dame, with a focus in Musical Theatre, as well as studied dance at Illinois Dance Academy and Revolution Dance Studio. She has school ties to two people in the show, guess who?! She is an accomplished model having photographed campaigns for Nike and walking runway shows for many designers in Chicago and New York. She loves her 7 siblings who are funnier than her, her parents, and nieces and nephews very much. She is also a House music head, and you can find her following her DJ friends around the city. You can also find her playing with improv groups Crop-Top Comedy and Hot Girl Comedy and on Instagram @faithvaleriee. She is represented by 10MGMT with a partnership from Grossman & Jack Talent.

Meet the Crew:

BREON ARZELL (Choreographer) is a dedicated teaching artist, specializing in hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical and body percussion; and serves as mentor to several universities, studios and theaters. Chicago: How Blood Go (Congo Square Theatre), Dance Like Black People are Watching (Second City), Kill Move Paradise* (TimeLine Theatre), The Color Purple (Drury Lane), The Wiz, Head Over Heels*, American Psycho (Kokandy Productions), The Total Bent* (Haven Theatre), The House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens), Marie Christine, The Scottsboro Boys, Little Shop of Horrors, The Hairy Ape* and more. Regional: Dreamgirls (Goodspeed Musicals), RENT & The Color Purple (MUNY), FELA! & Miss You Like Hell (Olney Theatre), Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Acoustic Rooster (Kennedy Center). TV: South Side, The 4400. While working internationally, he is listed among the ‘50 Players for Chicago’ (2018, 2020, 2023), and recipient of 6 Jeff Awards*. Along with developing original works, he is restoring and reviving a historical black musical. @breonarzell // www.breonarzell.com

CHELSEY CARTER (Stylist) native to Saint Louis MO, moved to Chicago in 2006 in efforts of pursuing her dreams to become a well-known designer. She applied and was accepted to The Art Institute – Chicago. Chelsey focuses on the abstract for inspiration for her designs. Her brand, Alex Carter which she launched in 2015, is unisex, catering to customers who are

risktaking and statement-making. Her goal is to exude sensuality in her clothing without having to bare it all. One of her biggest role models is her grandmother, who embodies everything she strives to be as a woman and feeds her drive as a designer. Her jackets can be seen on SZA and Chance the Rapper, and she has sold to Erykah Badu. She has been featured in Vogue Italia and many other magazines such as Verluxe, SunTimes and Tribune. The Alex Carter brand is known for creating everyday clothes for not so everyday people.

BRENDEN MARBLE (Lighting Designer) Is excited to be coming back to Second City! After studying theater design at Eastern Michigan University, the Detroit MI native moved to Chicago to start living their dream of becoming a lighting designer! Recent credits include A Hit Dog Will Holler (Artemisia Theatre), Fairview (Definition Theater), Currents (Chicago Fringe Opera), and Dance Like There Are Black People Watching (Second City Chicago) Even though his career is just beginning, he knows this is something he wants to do for the rest of his life.

TONY SANTIAGO (Associate Director) is a creative engineer centering technology to help connect people to the arts. Santiago manages Arts + Public Life’s Performance Residency and teaches the Community Actor’s Program for high-school-aged youth at Green Line Performance Arts Center in Washington Park. Professional credits include Community Data Manager for We Will Chicago with Honey Pot Performance, Spinning Home Movies with the South Side Home Movie Project Producer, and Editor and Technical Director of the Rapid Response Series with Illinois Humanities. Tony currently sits on the board of the Katherine Dunham Center in East Saint Louis. When not working, Tony enjoys cooking, biking, and watching movies on the big screen.

SEAN SYKES (Musical Director) is excited to be behind the keys playing live shows again! Sean has done musical direction for the Second City e.t.c. Mainstage, and Touring Company as well as the Bob Curry and NBC universal showcases. Sean earned a bachelor’s in music education at the University of Mississippi and is happily still using that amazing diploma to teach fourth grade music at the University of Chicago laboratory schools in Hyde Park. Sean gives a special thanks to producers, the amazing cast, everyone behind the scenes, and you our audience members. Enjoy the show!

DEVONTE E. WASHINGTON (Stage Manager) is a Chicago native built up his skills in Backstage production. He has molded his skills by learning the aspects of designing and building shows from scratch he found his home in Theater. His Talents have been used with many events, venues and shows throughout the city. Getting better with every show he wants to continue to get better at what he does while continuously learning more and more. This will be his second time working on the Black Excellence Show and he is excited for you to see this show.

ROB WILSON (Director) is so proud of this amazing cast and crew. He made his Second City Directorial debut with SuperAfroWavyDrippy-ExtraBrillantDope Show. He has since directed Dance Like There are Black People Watching here and created the film projects Lil Monsters and The Basement Rob is repped by Stewart Talent and you can see what he’s working on at his IG @Rob_Willsun.

Purchase Tickets the the 2024 Black Excellence Revue!

BY THE SECOND CITY | DEC 19, 2023

New Year’s Eve at the Second City – Toronto

Start the New Year on a hilarious note with The Second City Toronto! Join us for one of our incredible shows that guarantee to leave you laughing your way into 2024. Secure your tickets now and let the comedy countdown begin!  

BY THE SECOND CITY | DEC 13, 2023

New Year’s Eve at The Second City – Chicago

Start the New Year on a hilarious note with The Second City Chicago! Join us for one of our incredible shows that guarantee to leave you laughing your way into 2024. Secure your tickets now and let the comedy countdown begin!  

BY THE SECOND CITY | DEC 13, 2023

The Second City Named in Fast Company’s Third Annual List of Brands That Matter

The annual list honors companies and nonprofits that have built cultural relevance and impact through
compelling branding and efforts that naturally extend their presence into communities

CHICAGO —October 3, 2023 – Legendary comedy institution The Second City has been named today
on Fast Company’s third annual Brands That Matter list, honoring brands that communicate and
demonstrate brand purpose. This prestigious recognition highlights companies and nonprofits that
have built cultural relevance and impact through compelling branding and efforts that naturally
extend their presence into the community.

The Second City is honored in the ‘Enduring Impact: 15+ Years in Business’ category for its nearly 65
years of dedication to fostering the next generation of comedy and continuing to innovate its content
and business to reflect the human experience today from every angle.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Fast Company as one of the ‘Brands That Matter’ for 2023,” said
The Second City CEO, Ed Wells. “This acknowledgment reflects our dedication and passion for
shaping the comedy landscape, developing future generations of talent, and improving lives through
our Yes, And training philosophy for over six decades.”

Fast Company editors judged each brand on relevancy, cultural impact, ingenuity, and business
impact to compile the list.

Click here to see the complete list.

The Fall issue of Fast Company magazine is available online now and will be on newsstands
beginning October 10, 2023.

About Fast Company
Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business,
innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future
of business. The editor-in-chief is Brendan Vaughan. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company
is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication, Inc., and can be found
online at fastcompany.com.

BY THE SECOND CITY | OCT 3, 2023

(20) Days of Summer Improv For Free!

It’s summer. The weather’s warm, the vibe is good, and you’re not looking for anything serious right now. We totally get it. Neither are we. So, what we’re putting on the table is a no-strings-attached, commitment free, Drop In Improv class. We’d even make it free, if you’d be down. Need convincing?

With our drop-in classes, you can:

  • Test the waters before committing to a full course (no pressure)
  • Discover if improv is your cup of iced tea (or coffee, or whatever beverage you like)
  • Learn from experienced instructors in a fun, judgment-free environment
  • Meet new, like-minded people who share your interest in comedy

More Than A Laugh…

Sure, improv can be about making people laugh, but it’s also so much more than that. By jumping in a free drop-in class, you’ll not only learn the art of improvisation but also benefit from some maybe unexpected perks.

Boost That Confidence

Improv is all about thinking on your feet and being spontaneous. As you become more comfortable on stage and with your classmates, you’ll naturally feel more confident in your everyday life.

Enhance Creativity

Improv is an incredible way to flex your creative muscles. The more you practice, the more innovative and imaginative your ideas will become.

Communication is a Skill

Improv is all about active listening and responding to your scene partners. These skills are crucial in everyday life and can help improve your personal and professional relationships.

Meet New Friends

According to the Harvard Journal of Science*, when you show up to participate or engage in something you’re interested in, the likelihood of meeting someone else who is also interested in that thing goes up by a whopping 75,000%.

*not a real publication

Less Stress

3 out of 4 dermatologists agree that laughter is the best medicine. Doing improv not only helps you blow off steam but also teaches you to think on your feet and not sweat the small stuff. We have no idea what’s up with that 4th dermatologist. We aren’t gonna worry about it. (See?!)

No Experience? No problem.

You might be thinking, “This sounds great, but I’ve never done improv before. Can I still come?” Yes! And… our free drop-in classes are perfect for beginners and seasoned improvisers alike. Our experienced yet gentle instructors will ensure that everyone feels welcome and included, regardless of their skill level.

Improv and Chill

We have air conditioning. It’s August, let’s not kid ourselves. And after your class you can hang out with your new friends and grab a cold drink at our bar!

Bob Barker, Y’all

THE PRICE IS RIGHT (free)

Drop-in classes are the perfect opportunity to explore the world of improvisation without fear. You can come when you want, learn at your own pace, and discover the joys of improv! You might make some new friends, or find your new favorite hobby, or discover a hidden talent you never knew you had! The possibilities are endless.

We can’t wait to see you, and who knows – you might just be the next big thing in comedy! (NO PRESSURE)

                                         SIGN UP TODAY

BY THE SECOND CITY | JUL 11, 2023

The Power of Play: Six Ways That Kids Benefit From Improv

It’s another Saturday afternoon at The Second City. There’s an almost non-stop stream of laughter ringing through the halls. Kids are running around their classroom room pretending to be animals, falling on the ground, and getting up laughing. Trying out different characters and scenes and coming up with creative new ideas. The vibe in the room is one of pure fun. But, there’s more than just a good time going on, the kids are learning invaluable skills like how to take turns speaking in a group setting, how to collaborate with others, and most importantly, how to think on their feet!

Learning Through Play

One of my favorite things about improv class is that it encourages children to learn through playing. Improv is a fun and engaging activity that inspires kids to be creative, spontaneous, and silly. Through theatre games and exercises, children can explore their imagination and, along the way, learn important life skills like communication and teamwork. Children may not even realize that they are learning while they are playing!

Building Confidence

Improv requires participants to think on their feet and be fearless in exploring new ideas. As kids become more comfortable with improvising, they will also become more confident in their ability to take risks and communicate their ideas clearly while still having an open mind. Improv class also teaches kids that their voice and ideas are worth sharing. Because they are learning to “Yes, and..” each other’s offers, shy kids are given room to come out of their shells, open up, and have a great time!

Developing Positive Social Skills

Improv, unlike stand-up comedy, is a social activity. It requires a group effort to create. Because of this, children learn to develop healthy social skills. They learn to actively listen to their peers and respond in a way that is supportive and collaborative. We’ve all seen it, sometimes someone at work likes to take over a project without regard for anyone else. On the flip-side there are people who are too shy or insecure to present their opinions/ideas to anyone but their diary. There’s a saying in improv: “Bring a brick, not a skyscraper.” This attitude encourages kids to bring their imagination to the group without completely taking over. It teaches them to contribute and communicate in a healthy way.

Creative Problem Solving

Improv exercises often require children to think “outside the box” and come up with creative solutions to problems. As children learn and practice the games in class, they will intuitively become more adept at solving problems in innovative ways.

Adaptability and Teamwork

Improv requires participants to be flexible and respond to surprises and changes in the moment. Kids learn to be adaptable in the face of unexpected situations, which will help them to navigate life’s challenges more effectively. Additionally, improvising characters and scenes requires teamwork and collaboration, which helps children learn to be respectful of others’ ideas and to work together towards a common goal.

Improv is FUN!

Let’s be honest, the world can be a confusing and scary place. Improv teaches us to be brave and how to have fun doing it! In improv class, kids get to play, explore, and be silly in an encouraging and supportive environment. Improv classes can be an excellent way for children to blow off steam, build new friendships, and find joy in being creative.

 

Give your kid the gift of improv.  Yes, and… sign me up in Chicago or Toronto! 

BY THE SECOND CITY | JUN 7, 2023

Second City Announces 2023 SNL Scholarship Recipients

The Second City is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2023 SNL Scholarship. In partnership with Saturday Night Live, this scholarship will provide tuition-free training to diverse comedic talent from varying levels of experience.  

In addition to receiving performance and writing training at The Second City Training Center, recipients will be connected to SNL talent executives and be able to submit an audition tape or sketch packet to SNL for the landmark show. 

The following recipients were awarded scholarships and will begin their training with The Second City this March: 

Magdalena AL-Ghraibawi (she/her) “I’ll explain my name if I get the chance to, but for now you can just call Maggie! I’m a Muslim, Arab, woman of color who was born and raised in Vienna, Austria, a country that dislikes all of what I’ve just listed. Even though Vienna is a safe and affordable city that I both love and hate, I’m very excited to leave and move to the US. Currently, I’m studying to become a teacher, but I hope I’ll manage to make a living with comedy before I must face the responsibility of writing a bachelor’s thesis. With my comedy, I want to create a safe space for marginalized people; I want us to laugh and heal together while simultaneously educating people about social issues and I think the SNL DEI Scholarship offers me the perfect platform to do exactly that. I can’t put in words how thankful and honored I am about receiving this great opportunity and I’m excited to see what this journey has in store for me!” 

Caia Cammie (she/her) is 21 years old, raised between Kansas and Louisiana. She began acting as a child and attended summer camp in New Orleans throughout the years. This led to her attending Dillard University in New Orleans where she majored in theater. She hosted the school’s annual coronation, starred in several student films, and even worked as a background character for a Netflix film. In 2021, Caia moved to Chicago to transfer to Columbia College where she received a talent-based scholarship and continues to pursue her bachelor’s in fine arts.   

Liam Fallows (he/him) is a comedic performer and writer originally from the south Jersey suburbs of Philly, where he started his improv journey. After moving to Chicago, he studied at The Second City Film School where he was awarded the Stuart Cornfeld Scholarship and the Writing Mentorship 2023. Studying amongst the community within The Second City solidified his reverence for comedic writing and performing and he enjoys collaborating with those who feel the same. Liam’s love for television comedy, specifically sitcoms of the 1960’s, fuel his motivation to honor this frivolity in his work as well as in his overall approach to life. He is incredibly excited and sends a huge thank you to The Second City and Saturday Night Live for trusting him with this terrific opportunity. In his free time, an ideal day would include an iced coffee while browsing the “showbiz memoir” section of a used bookstore. 

Victoria Franso (she/her) is an Assyrian-American comedian and proud daughter of Iraqi immigrants. Shuffling between Chicago and Detroit, she has completed the improv programs at The Second City training center Chicago and Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Metro Detroit. Currently, she’s enrolled in Second City’s Conservatory and Go Comedy’s advanced improv program. She is also an understudy at Go Comedy. As a Saturday Night Live fan of about 15 years (ask her anything!), she considers this an opportunity of a lifetime and is incredibly grateful to The Second City. Victoria’s hope is to provide more leading roles for Middle Eastern women in comedy, as well as highlight the Assyrian experience both in the United States and in the homeland. 

About The Second City 

The Second City opened as a small comedy cabaret in 1959 and has since become one of the most influential names in comedy. The Second City’s stages, touring company and Training Center have acted as a launching pad for some of the most well-known writers, directors, and comedians in the world. 

Stay up-to-date by following us on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

 

BY THE SECOND CITY | FEB 1, 2023

The Second City Toronto’s New Home at One York Street Will Have Its Grand Opening on November 30

The Second City is thrilled to announce that its new home at One York Street will officially open November 30, 2022, with the first public performances to begin December 1. The new flagship home will be The Second City’s largest, most state-of-the-art venue since the world class comedy company first opened its doors in Canada in 1973. Featuring three theatres, nine Training Centre studios for student classes and partner workshops, and a full service restaurant and bar with food by Canadian hospitality leaders Oliver & Bonacini, the new location is a one stop shop for all things entertainment.

First announced in 2019, construction of the new, instantly iconic Second City location has been a true labour of love. In addition to the Mainstage Theatre, with a seating capacity of 244, and Theatre ’73, seating 170, the John Candy Box Theatre will feature a portion of the original stage from The Second City’s home circa 1974, The Old Firehall which held legends such as John CandyEugene LevyMartin ShortCatherine O’HaraGilda RadnerColin Mochrie and Mike Myers.

“Comedy is coming home to Toronto! It is fitting that The Second City Toronto celebrates its upcoming 50th anniversary in 2023 with a brand-new, custom built entertainment and educational complex. We are ecstatic to share this amazing new space and a new show featuring our award-nominated cast with our audiences, students, talent, and community,” said The Second City Creative Director Carly Heffernan.

The new 28,700-square-foot space is located on the third floor of One York, a 35-floor mixed-use Class AAA building located at York and Harbour in Toronto’s vibrant South Core Business District. Built in 2016, One York offers direct PATH access to TTC, GO Transit, VIA Rail, and the Union-Pearson Express as well as close proximity to some of the city’s landmark entertainment venues, such as Scotiabank Arena, the Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the CN Tower.

Tickets to shows at the One York Street location are now on sale.

BY THE SECOND CITY | OCT 20, 2022

The Second City Announces Ed Wells As Chief Executive Officer

Former Sesame Workshop Global Executive Assumes the Role to Drive New Growth For The World’s Premier Improvisation And Sketch-Based Comedy Entertainment And Education Brand

Sept. 13, 2022 – CHICAGO – Legendary institution The Second City is proud to announce Ed Wells as its chief executive officer, signaling a new chapter of growth for the 63-year-old organization. Wells joins The Second City from Sesame Workshop, where he served as executive vice president and global head of media and education.

“I am honored to be named CEO of this legendary and beloved institution. As the world leader in improv-based entertainment and education, The Second City represents both the very best of and the future of improv,” said Ed Wells. “I look forward to joining and leading this incredibly talented team as we develop a long-term growth plan including geographical expansion and new media opportunities aimed at bringing The Second City magic to audiences everywhere.”

Wells has a deep experience in global media, entertainment, consumer products, and live events. In addition to his recent leadership at Sesame Workshop, Wells held executive leadership roles at WWE and Paramount (formerly Viacom).

“Ed Wells brings an enviable wealth of knowledge and deal-making experience in the global media and entertainment industry,” said Strauss Zelnick, founder and managing partner of ZMC. “Ed’s unique combination of media industry experience on the global stage and understanding of the creative experience will help take The Second City to the next level.”

Wells began his new role on September 6, 2022.

About Ed Wells
Ed Wells has spent his career developing businesses for some of the world’s most iconic entertainment brands. Most recently he served as executive vice president and head of global media and education for Sesame Workshop, where he developed the organization’s long-term strategic vision for media and education in the U.S. and around the world while maximizing audience engagement and growing the Workshop’s commercial and educational endeavors.

Prior to joining Sesame Workshop in 2017, Wells was executive vice president and head of international for WWE, Inc., where he was responsible for the global strategic development of WWE’s brand and businesses, including the launch of the direct-to-consumer subscription service, WWE Network. Prior to that, he worked across the Viacom International Media Networks brands based in New York, Singapore, and Japan, where he served as vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon.

Wells is actively involved in philanthropic institutions outside of the workplace and is a strategic advisor for the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to supporting homeless LGBTQ youth. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and later earned Master of Arts degrees in International Studies from American University and Ritsumeikan University. Born and raised in the Detroit metro area, Wells is happy to be returning home to the Midwest.

About The Second City
The Second City opened its doors in 1959 as a small comedy cabaret and has since grown to become the world’s most influential name in improv and comedy. Second City’s stages, Touring Companies, and Training Centers across North America have proudly been the launch pad for many of the funniest names on the planet, including John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Suzy Nakamura, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Sam Richardson, Joan Rivers, Amber Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, and Steven Yeun, among many more.

About ZMC
ZMC is a leading private equity firm composed of experienced investors and executives who invest in and manage a diverse group of media and communications enterprises. Founded in 2001, ZMC’s investment philosophy centers on operational value creation driven by targeted investment themes, deep sector expertise, and strong partnerships with industry and operating executives. ZMC approaches its investments in collaboration with management teams and has a successful track record of actively adding value to portfolio companies. ZMC is currently investing out of ZMC III, L.P., which closed on $775 million in commitments.

BY THE SECOND CITY | SEP 13, 2022

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