The Second City, the venerable comedy institution with branches in Chicago, Toronto and elsewhere, is up for sale for only the second time in its 61-year history.
Variety broke the news today. “While all our lives have been affected by the pandemic, The Second City has found green shoots that have further highlighted our growth potential,” The Second City president Steve Johnston said in a statement. “The company’s growth plan leverages Second City’s unique position in the comedy ecosystem as the leader in both education, and live sketch and improv performance to capture market share in the short to medium term, as well as accelerate a transition toward digital delivery of programming, which is already off to a great start.”
While its theaters in Chicago and Los Angeles remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, apparently some live productions have resumed in Toronto. Over the summer, co-owner Andrew Alexander stepped down amid revived complaints about how The Second City has treated performers of color. Alexander and Len Stuart had bought the company from co-founder Bernie Sahlins in 1985.
If you’re interested, investment bank Houlihan Lokey reportedly is handling the sale of The Second City.