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Director Sam Pinkleton on making ‘Oh, Mary!’ sincerely stupid

The Tony Award-nominated choreographer makes his Broadway directing debut with Cole Escola’s new romp.

(L-R) Sam Pinkleton and Cole Escola (Credit: Rebecca J Michelson)

Sam Pinkleton never expected to make his Broadway directorial debut with “Oh, Mary!” The new comedy, written by Cole Escola, imagines First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln (played by Escola) as a frustrated, alcoholic and former cabaret star who just wants to get back to the stage.

Pinkleton and Escola first met 12 years ago, when the former choreographed the latter in a Dan Fishback musical called “The Material World.” Though Pinkleton earned his first Broadway credit as assistant director of “The Lyons,” his subsequent seven Main Stem credits have been as a choreographer, including a 2017 Tony Award nod for “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” 

Escola, an actor and writer, is known for their television roles on series like “Search Party” and “At Home with Amy Sedaris” as well as Writers Guild of America-nominated writing for “Hacks” and “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” YouTubing theater fans know Escola from their string of Bernadette Peters spoofs.

That same utter silliness and, in the duo’s words, stupid humor Escola has become known for is at the core of “Oh, Mary!” Yet, to make stupid work, you need to be smart.

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