July 12, 2023
On April 21 of the cursed year of 2020, the Upright Citizens Brigade — New York’s premier improv-comedy venue — announced it was closing its Hell’s Kitchen theater and training center permanently. Since then, the company explored becoming a nonprofit before being acquired by new owners who announced their intention to rebuild the once extremely powerful comedy institution. It now appears they are set to deliver on that promise, as UCB gears up to open a brand-new theater space on 14th Street in Manhattan this fall.
While UCB’s Franklin Theater in L.A. was the only physical location to survive the pandemic closures (it reopened in September 2022), New York, the city where the group was originally founded, has remained without a fixed venue for UCB shows, even as in-person classes resumed. The news of the new venue was announced Wednesday night at a community happy hour organized by UCB N.Y.’s three artistic directors, Michael Hartney, Iliana Inocencio, and Laura Canty-Samuel. “We’re planning on resuming performances in the fall of 2023, and that’s as specific as we want to get right now,” Hartney told Vulture. He said the group toured numerous spaces with Denham Wolf Real Estate, a company that traditionally assists nonprofits looking for space. “This 14th Street space is the one where we all walked in and went, ‘I can see it,’” Hartney added.