Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Ann Reinking died on Saturday night in Washington, her family confirmed on Monday. Reinking was 71.
“The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party,” her family said in a statement on Monday.
“She was visiting our brother in Washington state when she went to sleep and never woke up. We will miss her more than we can say. Heaven has the best choreographer available now. I’m sure they are dancing up a storm up there! Annie, we will love and miss you always!!!”
Trained as a ballet dancer, Reinking was known for her bold style of dance, complete with net stockings, chair dancing and plenty of pelvic thrusts.
Reinking, a well-loved icon in Broadway, played Roxie Hart in the original 1996 Main Stem production of Chicago, starring opposite Beb Neuwirth as Velma Kelly and Joel Grey as Amos Hart. She also won a Tony for choreographing the show.
But even before Chicago, Reinking was already a theater star when he made her debut as a replacement in the original 1960s run of Cabaret. She appeared in other shows including the 1972 production of Pippin. The multi-talented star continued to shine when she won a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for Goodtime Charley (1975) and a Featured Actress in a Musical nomination for Dancin’ (1978).
In Bob Fosse’s 1979 autobiographical film ‘All That Jazz’, Reinking played a fictionalized version of herself, as the main character’s girlfriend and one of his muses.
Reinking was also the co-creator, co-director and co-choreographer for ‘Fosse’, a musical meant to showcase Fosse’s talent in choreography. The musical was Reinking’s final bow on Broadway, as she served as replacement ensemble member in 2001.
Many members of the theater community and Hollywood who have worked with Reinking paid tribute to the actor on social media.
Dancer and choreographer Christopher Dean posted on Facebook, “The lights on the Broadway are forever more dim this morning and there is one less star in the sky. The good news is that heaven has the very best choreographer on earth now. Thank you Ann for having the most profound impact on my career”.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was among those praising her talent. “A singular talent has left us,” he wrote on Twitter. Jason Alexander added: “She was a pure joy — fun and funny and endlessly kind and talented. Heaven’s chorus line just got a star.”
A singular talent has left us. #RIPAnnReinking https://t.co/yEch1i4Wel— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 15, 2020
Her movie credits include “Annie” (1982), “Movie, Movie” (1978) and the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” (2005), which portrayed Reinking as a ballroom-dance competition judge for New York City kids.