Ann Reinking, Broadway’s Chicago Star and Tony-Winning Choreographer, Is Dead at 71

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Ann Reinking, Broadway actress, dancer, and choreographer, passed away on Saturday at the age of 71. Her sister-in-law Dahrla King confirmed the news to Variety on Monday. “The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul,” the late performer’s family said in a statement. “Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party. 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!!!”

Born in Seattle, Reinking dedicated her professional life to dance at an early age, making her Broadway debut in Cabaret at 19, in 1969. She went on to perform in Coco, Wild and Wonderful, Over Here!, Goodtime Charley (for which she received a Tony nomination), A Chorus Line, Sweet Charity, and Pippin, where she first met the show’s director Bob Fosse in 1972.

Reinking joined Chicago in 1977 as Roxie Hart, replacing Gwen Verdon, and would go on to reprise the role in the show’s 1996 revival, for which she received a Tony Award for Best Choreography. In 1979, the actress appeared in Fosse’s All That Jazz as Katie Jagger, a part inspired by Reinking’s relationship with the famed choreographer, in turns that of a protégée, a romantic partner, and a creative collaborator. Margaret Qualley played the late actress in FX’s Fosse/Verdon across from Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams.

Reinking also graced the silver screen in Mickie + Maude, Movie Movie, and the film version of the musical Annie. In 2001, Reinking won an Olivier Award for Best Choreography for the West End production of Fosse, a musical revue dedicated to the late choreographer’s work, co-created with Richard Maltby Jr. and Chet Walker. Reinking is survived by husband, Peter Talbert, and son, Chris.

Ann Reinking, Chicago Star and Tony Winner, Is Dead at 71