After enjoying a successful run in Miami Beach from late November through January, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” an outdoor theatrical anthology series that explores humanity’s basest impulses, will come to New York. Performances are scheduled to begin on June 23 and will take place in storefront windows in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
“I think it was important for us to do it in this moment of transition,” said Moisés Kaufman, the founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project, which is producing the show with Madison Wells Live in association with Miami New Drama. “We wanted to be able to create something while the pandemic is still with us because it feels more like an act of defiance.”
The New York version of “The Seven Deadly Sins” will feature short new plays by Ngozi Anyanwu, Thomas Bradshaw, MJ Kaufman, Jeffrey LaHoste, Ming Peiffer and Bess Wohl. Moisés Kaufman will also contribute a piece to the anthology and direct the production. Each playwright’s work will address a particular “sin”: pride, greed, wrath, envy, gluttony, sloth or lust.
“We really wanted the event to not be a revival of an existing play,” Kaufman said in an interview on Wednesday. After having been through a pandemic, “the idea that new art can be born on the streets of Manhattan is something that excites us.”
The 10-minute-long plays will be viewable from the street — by a masked, socially distanced audience, who will be provided with disposable earbuds to hear the actors in the storefronts. Escorted by a guide, they will watch the seven pieces in different orders. Before viewing the artistically rendered debauchery, ticket holders will have the opportunity to grab a drink at a pop-up bar called Purgatory.
The Meatpacking District Business Improvement District is pitching in to identify performance venues and manage the production’s use of public space.
Dael Orlandersmith and Nilo Cruz were among the writers who contributed plays to the twice-extended inaugural production, which was conceived of by Michel Hausmann, a co-founder of Miami New Drama with Moisés Kaufman.
Storefront performances have cropped up in New York periodically since the pandemic began, but none so far have matched the scale or complexity of “The Seven Deadly Sins.” In March, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that live indoor and outdoor shows could resume in the state at limited capacity beginning April 2, paving the way for more ambitious projects to take root in the city this spring and summer.
Tickets go on sale May 14. Casting information will be released soon.