Pinkleton (right) rehearsing Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva, Courtesy ICM Partners

25 to Watch 2018: Sam Pinkleton

In 2017, Sam Pinkleton's choreography appeared on three Broadway stages simultaneously: in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Amélie and the play Significant Other. But until recently, he didn't even feel comfortable calling himself a choreographer. Pinkleton, 30, studied directing at New York University, where his relentless enthusiasm and "willingness to jump off of high things" led people to ask him to make movement for their projects. Since then, he's been creating "absurd, totally ridiculous, un-self-conscious movement," working with people with a broad spectrum of abilities and backgrounds, both young and old.

"I'm just one tall, scarecrow-y gay white guy who moves a certain way," says Pinkleton. "So the fact that I would expect other people to move the way I do feels really presumptuous." His one-size-doesn't-fit-all approach to choreography earned him a Tony nomination for The Great Comet, with an ensemble of dancers and musicians thrashing one moment and waltzing the next through nearly every portion of the theater.

It may seem like Pinkleton's been branded for Broadway, but, aside from the new musical Soft Power in L.A. and Trouble in Tahiti for Dutch National Opera this spring, his upcoming work is anything but proscenium-bound: "Even when I'm making theater, the idea of making it in club venues, in churches and basements and public parks is and has always been in the front seat for me."

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July 2021