Ann Reinking, Tony Winner and Star of Broadway’s ‘Chicago,’ Dies at 71

Legendary dancer and choreographer was longtime protégée of Bob Fosse

Last Updated: December 14, 2020 @ 6:10 PM

Ann Reinking, dancer, actor, choreographer, protégée of Bob Fosse and Tony-winner for choreography for the 1996 revival of “Chicago,” has died at age 71.

“The lights on Broadway are forever more dim this morning and there is one less star in the sky,” dancer and choreographer Christopher Dean, who teaches Reinking’s niece, announced the news on Facebook. “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. We are even more blessed by the entire Reinking family who have welcomed us in and been a huge part of our lives this past year. The world will miss Ann so much!! The angels are all singing ‘We got Annie!!'”

Reinking’s sister-in-law Dahrla King confirmed to Variety that the celebrated performer died Saturday night in Washington state while visiting her brother. King added her own Facebook tribute to her sister-in-law on Facebook today: “Rest in peace and power, my beautiful sis, mentor, friend. We will love and miss your vibrancy forever!!!” King wrote.

Reinking was born on Nov. 10, 1949 in Seattle, Washington. She started her stage career in a Seattle Opera House production of “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1965 and made it to Broadway in 1960 when she was cast in “Cabaret.”

Although best known for replacing Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart in 1977’s “Chicago,” the Kander and Ebb musical choreographed by Bob Fosse. Reinking’s other Broadway roles include “Sweet Charity,” “Over Here!” and “Goodtime Charley.”

Reinking had a long personal and professional relationship with Fosse. She was involved with Fosse when she starred opposite him  in the 1979 movie musical “All That Jazz,” directed by Fosse and loosely based on the choreographer’s life. The movie’s story mirrored the fact that Reinking’s was involved with Fosse while he was still married to Gwen Verdon.

Reinking’s choreography for a 1996 revival of “Chicago” earned her a Tony Award.