Ann Reinking Dies at 71; Dancer, Actor, Choreographer and Fosse Muse

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Ann Reinking Dies at 71; Dancer, Actor, Choreographer and Fosse Muse

Ms. Reinking played as Joan of Arc alongside Joel Gray in the short-lived musical “Goodtime Charley” from 1975. The next year she joined the cast of the hit “A Chorus Line” and from 1978 appeared in “Dancin ‘”, a musical one Revue staged and choreographed by Fosse.

When “Dancin ‘” opened, The Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning wrote that Ms. Reinking had successfully made the leap from the choral line to leading roles.

“There could be no doubt that Miss Reinking had joined the brightest stars on Broadway,” wrote Ms. Dunning. “With her long legs, mane of silky, flying hair and the intensity of cats, Ms. Reinking is an outstanding figure in a very fast-paced society.”

(Fosse said he choreographed part of that show, “Trumpet Solo,” just so he could show Ms. Reinking’s long-legged extensions.)

In 1986 Ms. Reinking starred in a revival of “Sweet Charity,” a production in which Bebe Neuwirth also starred, who appeared alongside Ms. Reinking as Velma Kelly on the revival of “Chicago”.

Before the revival of Chicago, Ms. Reinking, in her forties until then, never expected to dance on stage again, she said. In fact, she initially turned down the offer to play Roxie again. But director Walter Bobbie stayed and gave in.

“She just doesn’t dance like everyone else,” Ms. Neuwirth told The Times in 1996.

Ms. Reinking later found roles on the big screen, particularly as the secretary of billionaire Oliver Warbucks, Grace Farrell, in the 1982 film version of the hit musical “Annie”. In the number “We Got Annie”, Ms. Reinking’s character, who had encouraged her boss to take on the orphaned title character, performs a victory dance in which she jumps and twirls and celebrates with other Daddy Warbucks employees.