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The Second City Reopening Main Stage With New Show 'Happy To Be Here'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Second City, the famed sketch comedy club in Old Town, is reopening its main stage Friday night, with its first in-person performances in more than a year.

The pandemic brought the curtain down on The Second City and other theaters in March, but live performances return to the main stage at Piper's Alley on Friday, with the new show "Happy To Be Here" at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The new show also will be performed on Saturday and Sunday, and then the theater will be open Thursdays through Sundays starting next week.

"Our talent, our staff and our faculty are looking forward to entertaining and educating in the same room again," said Jon Car, The Second City's new executive producer, in a statement. "We realize that most people have binge-watched every TV show ever made at this point, so it's exciting that live, in-person experiences are set to make their long-awaited return."

Capacity will be limited to maintain social distancing, and most shows on the main stage already have been sold out for May. Mask will be required, and customers will be able to purchase drinks with mask-friendly straws.

The lower stage, the e.t.c Stage, will resume live shows in June.

The Second City Training Center opened at limited capacity for in-person classes earlier this week. Online classes and shows, which had been offered while the stages were closed due to the pandemic, are still available as well.

The Second City is located at 1616 N. Wells St. in Old Town. It is known as a training ground for stars such as Stephen Colbert, John Belushi, and Tina Fey.

Longtime co-owner Andrew Alexander stepped down as CEO last June, amid accusations of institutional racism. In a letter posted on the Second City website, Andrew Alexander said he failed to create an "anti-racist environment."

Alexander's resignation came after actor Dewayne Perkins said the company created obstacles for performers of color. Alexander also said in his letter the next executive director of Second City will be a person of color.

The comedy club went up for sale last October, seven months after it was forced to close its stages. It sold to private equity group ZMC in February.

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