Broadway legend and Bob Fosse protégée Ann Reinking’s passing on Monday set off a flood of tributes from the theater community and famous fans who loved her work. It didn’t take long for stars like Chita Rivera, Vanessa Williams and Billy Eichner to share their warm memories and express their sadness.
“I’m beyond words to hear of the sudden passing of my dear friend #AnnReinking,” tweeted Rivera, who, like Reinking, was a master of the Fosse dance style. “Such a beautiful soul and talent. We met during the original Chicago & were close friends to this day. I so loved sharing the stage with her. Her spirit & #RazzleDazzle are w me always.”
Aside from her storied relationship with Fosse, Reinking was closely associated with “Chicago,” playing Roxie Hart in the 1977 version and winning a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for her choreography for the 1996 revival — a production that was still going strong before COVID-19 shut down Broadway.
But the theater community is remembering the more personal moments of their lives that Reinking touched. Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. called Reinking a mentor, tweeting “We receive so much from our teachers and mentors and collaborators. The more you receive, the greater the charge to share it–to give it away. She honored the calling for real. RIP to a legend.”
Many also brought up her heartwarming turn as Grace Farrell in the 1982 film “Annie,” with Melissa Errico sharing a personal story in which Reinking emailed Errico’s 11-year-old daughter after she learned she was playing the role of Grace Farrell.
“Grace is so kind, smart, and full of love,” Reinking wrote to Errico’s daughter. “It was a privilege to play her in the movie and I enjoyed ‘being’ her very much. I know you will have a good time playing Grace.” She also added a personal note to her friend, saying “I hear a proud mother’s love!”
What an incalculable loss. This is a small glimpse of the warmth and magic of #AnnReinking – here to my 11 year old this year, always generous, always widening the circle of love & joy. RIP Annie. I am torn apart to say goodbye. pic.twitter.com/FcscZs8a5W
— Melissa Errico (@melissa_errico) December 15, 2020
Read more tributes below.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 15, 2020
So Sad💔 ,,,, RIP ANNIE. https://t.co/6Yrew14X2T
— Bernadette Peters (@OfficialBPeters) December 14, 2020
Fosse legend #annreinking will live on in our dancer’s hearts forever. I was lucky to work with her in 1995 when she choreographed “Bye Bye Birdie “ for @abcnetwork The epitome of class, sensuality and fire #rip https://t.co/rRXepLsygd
— Vanessa Williams (@VWOfficial) December 15, 2020
— ROSIE (@Rosie) December 15, 2020
So grateful I got to see Ann Reinking dance in the revival of Chicago. One of the most mesmerizing people I’ve ever seen on stage. A singular genius. RIP. https://t.co/yqPPJV4ASX
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 15, 2020
RIP Ann Reinking. Seeing her onstage was always an event and a celebration, and theater at its very best. She was quirky, magnetic and sublime, the essence of stardom. Irreplaceable pic.twitter.com/AjXtjy5R4n
— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) December 15, 2020
One of our greatest talents & most generous artists has left this life,& is shining in the beyond. 💔I’ll never forget her kindness & the hope she gave me after some very painful times in my life. Thank you brilliant & huge hearted Annie #AnnReinking #RIP brilliant🌟🙏💫✨💖💖 https://t.co/19fqH1gvuG
— Donna Murphy (@DMurphyOfficial) December 15, 2020
My first real musical experience was Conrad Birdie in 91-92 nat tour of Bye Bye Birdie;
My first real film experience was playing Conrad again for ABC TV in 95. Both times were blessed with the presence, talent guidance and friendship of the incomparable #AnnReinking
— Marc Kudisch (@MarcKuds) December 15, 2020
— Hollywood Pantages (@Pantages) December 15, 2020