Jamie Forshaw was recently able to do something he hasn’t been able to do for more than a year.
The executive producer of Madison Wells’ live entertainment division attended a dress rehearsal for “Seven Deadly Sins,” one of the company’s first post-pandemic theatrical forays.
“It was electric,” Forshaw says.
In the case of “Seven Deadly Sins,” this wasn’t your typical run-through. The show doesn’t unfold in a single theater. Instead, it plays out as a series of roughly 10-minute mini-plays, performed across a number of empty storefronts in New York’s Meatpacking District. Each work touches on a different sin, putting a Manhattan twist on gluttony, envy, lust and the like. It’s another sign that the city’s cultural pulse is resuming after a season in COVID-induced purgatory.
Not only does “Seven Deadly Sins” begin performances this week, but Bruce Springsteen is returning for a full-capacity Broadway run of his solo show, Shakespeare in the Park begins performances next month, and musical acts like the Foo Fighters are playing to sold-out crowds.
“Arts and culture play such an important role in bringing back a city after something like we’ve all gone through,” says Gigi Pritzker, founder of MW. “You can’t understate how critical it is.”
“Seven Deadly Sins” was first performed in December by Miami New Drama along the city’s Lincoln Road pedestrian district. It’s been reconceived for New York audiences and earned the backing of MW and Tectonic Theater Project. There’s a whole new slate of plays by the likes of “Seven Deadly Sins” contributors Bess Wohl, Ngozi Anyanwu and Moisés Kaufman. MW believes that the play’s model can be replicated all over the world.
“When you think of London or New Orleans or Chicago or Barcelona, they have amazing artistic communities,” says Pritzker. “You could highlight amazing original works in all of these cities.”
MW is banking on a big return to theater. In addition to “Seven Deadly Sins,” it backs the Tony-winning “Hadestown” and the upcoming revival of “Company,” which is set to star Patti LuPone and Katrina Lenk.
“It’s going to be tough for Broadway initially, because audiences are 60% tourists,” says Forshaw. “But we’re resilient, and we’ll come back.”