After three years without a homegrown headquarters, New York's own Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is back.
Yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCB—the city's premier improv venue, which was founded by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh back in 1999—announced that it was closing its Hell's Kitchen theater and training center permanently in April 2020, which meant that NYC would be without an actual brick-and-mortar UCB space. (The troupe's Chelsea theater shuttered in 2017 and its East Village venue in 2019.)
However, with some fresh blood—new owners Mike McAvoy (former owner and CEO of The Onion) and Jimmy Miller (co-founder of Mosaic talent management) acquired the Brigade in March 2022—comes some new digs: the UCB Theatre New York will debut this fall at a brand-new location, 242 East 14th Street off Second Avenue.
The new space will feature three floors: the ground floor will include "a coffee bar, hangout space, and small performance area" for class shows, auditions and rehearsal space, Vulture reports. The mezzanine level will have a bar and restrooms, while the basement will be home to the main theater space, which will reportedly have a 130-seat capacity, as well as a greenroom and separate entrance for performers.
The theater will reportedly feature seven nights of UCB shows per week, but as for an opening date? “We’re planning on resuming performances in the fall of 2023, and that’s as specific as we want to get right now,” Michael Hartney—who, along with Iliana Inocencio, and Laura Canty-Samuel, is one of UCB's artistic directors—told Vulture. However, the group is excited to show off the space, with Hartney adding: “This 14th Street space is the one where we all walked in and went, ‘I can see it’.”
While performances are still TBD, auditions will kick off in August for UCB's house comedy teams, including the Harold improv-comedy team, the Maude sketch-comedy team and the Betty character-comedy team.