The Second City announced Friday it will move or cancel all main stage, Second City e.t.c. and UP Comedy Club performances through Sept. 20 as a result of the ongoing cleanup from a three-alarm fire in Chicago's Piper's Alley Aug. 26.
The fire, which started at Adobo Grill and spread through the roof vents, damaged Second City offices but not the stages.
True to Second City form, fire references have made their way into sketches for the company's next revue, which cast members began rehearsing the day before the fire, said CEO and executive producer Andrew Alexander. A T-shirt that reads "Where there's smoke, there's satire" features Second City and Chicago Fire Department logos and the website lists reviews including: "Could've been worse," from Mrs. O'Leary, and "Shorter than I expected," from First-Century Rome.
"It's been amazing how our team has pulled together," Alexander said. "It reflects who we are in terms of collaboration."
While clean up and restoration of the company's 82,000-square-foot space is taking longer than anticipated, Alexander is "cautiously optimistic" about the proposed Sept. 20 reopening.
"There are issues with common areas as well as smoke and water damage that must be addressed before we allow talent, staff and audiences in any of our spaces," Alexander said in a prepared statement. "If we have an opportunity to open earlier, we absolutely will, but we owe it to our customers to give them the option to cancel or book for a future performance as we continue to recover from this fire."
The Second City will contact ticketholders to offer refunds or to reschedule for future performances. There are no plans to relocate shows to the suburbs, Alexander said, adding that shows by the touring company, whose members have performed at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights and the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, will go on as scheduled.
The cast for the upcoming 104th revue, which started rehearsals the day before the fire, will perform free improv sets beginning next week at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The schedule will be posted on the Second City website at secondcity.com and on social media, a spokeswoman said.
Jen Kirkman, originally scheduled to perform at the UP Comedy Club from Sept. 10 to 12, will perform instead at the Upstairs Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $20. Call (312) 337-3992 for more information.
The company has canceled performances of "Sunday, Bloody Mary Sunday Brunch" and will refund tickets.
Lastly, classes will be held at TriBeCa Flashpoint College, 28 N. Clark St., Chicago; Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago; and Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago; until further notice.
"The generosity (of Chicago theaters) doesn't surprise me at all," Alexander said. "This is a terrific community that always pulls together. When something like this happens it's everyone instinct to reach out."
Second City will post updates on shows and classes at SecondCity.com, Facebook and Twitter.