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Second City hires Jon Carr as new executive producer - Chicago Tribune
Second City hires Jon Carr as new executive producer
By Chris Jones
Nov 25, 2020 at 1:37 PM
Second City said Wednesday that it has hired a new executive producer: Jon Carr, a writer and artistic director with strong roots in the improv and theater communities of Atlanta.
Carr, 41, will have a lot of power. Second City said he will oversee all of the company's creative work "across its theaters, educational programs and business services, as well as the company’s pivot to streaming performances and online classes."
Carr currently is artistic director of Dad's Garage Theater, a long-established improv theater in Atlanta, although he has been in that position for only about a year. Although well respected among its peers, Dad's Garage is a non-profit entity and far smaller than Second City, widely seen as the global brand name in improvisational comedy.
Second City said, curiously, that Carr would be "unavailable for interviews" until mid-December, although it provided a statement from him: “The Second City has been an improv, comedy, and cultural institution speaking truth to power for decades, and that will continue. I look forward to being a champion for all voices to be authentically amplified and, of course, funny as hell.”
Carr previously worked at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and United Atlanta Improv. He was born in Los Angeles.
Second City has been roiled by allegations of institutional racism in recent months, like many artistic institutions. Carr spoke in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year.
"I have stood with my hands on the trunk of my car while being searched because I was driving while black," he wrote in an open letter in June to the Atlanta theater community. "I have a mother who lay face-down on a gravel road while an officer held a rifle to her head. I have a brother who narrowly escaped an incident with the police because he knocked on the wrong door. Then I heard about the murder of George Floyd. I am angry, I am sad, I am frustrated. But I am not surprised."
Carr takes over from Anthony LeBlanc, interim executive producer since June. LeBlanc will return to his role at Nickelodeon in Los Angeles, where he has been an acting coach since 2018.
In a statement, LeBlanc called Carr "the perfect combination of hilarious performer and artistic leader who not only has a deep knowledge of comedy and collaborative work, but also a new and fresh perspective that will lead Second City towards a bright future."
That future, however, remains murky with the theater currently up for sale. Until a new owner is identified, it will not be clear whether the theater's current leadership will be retained.