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The Second City Kicks Off 60th Anniversary

The Second City turns sixty on December 16, but the celebration kicks off this month with a slew of special events and launches that give audiences a peek behind the curtain of the world's greatest comedy theater.

"The world has changed dramatically since this theater opened its doors in 1959, but over the last six decades, The Second City has continued to uphold its mission of entertaining, inspiring, and transforming through fearless comedy on our stages, in our classrooms, and through all of our programming. We are grateful to our millions of audience members over the years for keeping us on our toes and pushing us to break new ground in our art and our outreach," says CEO and executive producer, Andrew Alexander.

In addition to welcoming illustrious alumni back to their artistic home as part of a yearlong homecoming celebration, The Second City will commemorate its diamond anniversary with the release of a new coffee table book. The Second City: The Essentially Accurate History by The Second City with Sheldon Patinkin and Liz Kozak will be released on December 17 (Agate Midway). The book features a new foreword from Second City and SCTV alumna Catherine O'Hara and is an updated, expanded, and redesigned edition of the 1999 volume covering The Second City's roots to its present-day status, as well as profiling the many alumni who began their careers with the theater, including Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, and Gilda Radner--as well as more recent alumni, such as Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Keegan-Michael Key.

The Second City is now available for pre-order wherever books are sold, but customers who purchase at now through December 8 will receive a free Second City logo sticker, free gift wrapping for the holidays, and be entered into a drawing to win their choice of one of three grand prizes: a pair of premium rail seats to a show at The Second City Chicago or Toronto; a Second City swag package of exclusive merchandise; or a $100 gift card toward any Second City Training Center class. For more information or to pre-order for holiday delivery, visit

Comedy lovers are also invited to explore Second City's legacy at special events this fall. October 19-20, the theater's Old Town home, Piper's Alley, will be part of Open House Chicago ( Participants of the free architecture festival are invited to explore the comedy institution's expansive campus. Highlights include the theater's iconic stone arch facade, historic memorabilia, archival photography of celebrated alumni, the recently renovated second-floor corner Training Center space boasting sweeping views of the city. The self-guided tour culminates with the chance to step onto a Second City stage.

The Second City is also marking its sixtieth anniversary with the following opportunities rolling out over the year:

  • The Second City is participating in the Design Museum of Chicago's free public exhibit "Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre," which overlaps with the city's Year of Chicago Theatre initiative. Visitors are able to get an up-close look at the most storied element in all of Second City's shows for sixty years: the iconic bentwood chair. (Now-January 5; for info)
  • Limited edition 60th anniversary merchandise will be available (Beginning by December)
  • To honor Second City's Wednesday night opening in 1959, the theater will offer a special ticket pricing of $19.59 for select Wednesday performances. (Beginning by January)
  • Second City's Diversity & Inclusion program will hold sixty mentorship meetings with new and current talent to support diverse comedic talent. (Beginning by February)
  • The Second City Training Center will award sixty scholarships to students who embody Second City's mission "to entertain, inspire, and transform through fearless comedy." (Beginning by March; visit for info)

Look for The Second City to "yes, and" its sixtieth celebration with more exciting announcements as the celebration gets underway in the coming months.

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