Original sins: Biblical burlesque show drops into Bushwick

seven sins
Sin city: Company XIV’s new burlesque show, “Seven Sins,” reimagines the story of Adam and Eve.
Mark Shelby Perry

Let there be lust!

A Bushwick burlesque company has launched a new show that breathes life — and lust — into the Bible’s creation story. “Seven Sins,” running through the end of October, tells the story of Adam and Eve’s encounter with the snake with the help of a troupe of dancers, aerialists, and opera singers — a company that makes the show much more than a typical striptease, said the founder of Company XIV.

“Everybody’s super classically trained,” said Austin McCormick, who is also the show’s choreographer. “It’s a fusion of every style.”

The show follows Adam and Eve as they leave the Garden and encounter the Seven Deadly Sins, scantily-clad figures who incorporate circus routines, ballet, modern dance, and opera songs into their elaborate temptations. Even the moments with less-than-sexy sins feature sensual touches: for Sloth, Adam and Eve lounge in a bathtub as a trapeze artist soars overhead; for Gluttony, a juggler tosses food items through the air while an opera singer performs Katy Perry’s “Bon Appetit,” McCormick explained.

Prospective audience members may be tempted to splurge on tickets to the  “Serpent’s VIP Table” which includes a menu of dishes, gifts, and cocktails delivered by cast members. During the gluttony scene, those high spenders will also receive pig snout masks and access to a trough of decadent creme puffs and chocolate desserts. The table of temptations is new for this production, McCormick said. 

“It’s a new immersive tier for the company,” he said. 

Any audience member can indulge in a custom cocktail, said McCormick, each titled appropriately for the sins showcased during the performance. 

“I create all the cocktails to go with the show,” he said. “They change every show.”

seven sins
Devilish: The new show stars opera singers, modern and ballet dancers, and aerialists decked out in sequins and sparkles. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry

McCormick founded Company XIV in 2006, hoping to combine burlesque with elements of cabaret, opera, and baroque dance — an early form of ballet, he said. 

“I wanted to create something I didn’t see in New York,” he said. “I fuse [dance] with the art of burlesque, which has its root in parodying classical stories and myths,” he said. 

After performing in venues across the city, Company XIV settled in its 175-seat Bushwick theater in 2018. There, the company pairs its sensual performances with lavish set designs and ornate costumes that play an important role in each show, according to McCormick. 

“Everything really is part of the performance,” he said. 

“Seven Sins” at Theatre XIV [383 Troutman St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (866) 811–4111, www.companyxiv.com]. Through Oct. 31; Thu, Fri, and Sun at 8 pm; times vary on Sat and Wed. $95 ($265 for VIP). Ages 21 and older.