Chicago duo buys iO theater, plans to resume improv shows and classesDarel Jevenson July 20, 2021 at 12:48 am

Don’t turn the lights out on the iO theater just yet.

The North Side comedy house’s longtime owner, Charna Halpern, said Monday that she has sold the building and the iO brand to a pair of local real estate executives.

The buyers, Scott Gendell and Larry Weiner, intend to reopen the space at 1501 N. Kingsbury St. and resume offering improv shows and classes there, she said.

In its 40 years in business, iO (formerly ImprovOlympic) built a reputation for nurturing creativity and helped shape future stars including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley and Mike Myers. For many years it was the educational outlet for the volatile visionary Del Close, an actor and director highly regarded for his eye for talent.

Gendell and Weiner were not available for comment, but in a statement issued through Halpern, the longtime friends said they planned to “continue the cultural gem that is this iconic theater.”

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