Ann Reinking, Dancer, Actor, Choreographer and Fosse Muse, Dies at 71
In New York, Ms. Reinking was a member of the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall. Her first Broadway role was in the ensemble of “Cabaret” in 1969; she went on to appear in “Coco,” which starred Katharine Hepburn as Coco Chanel, and “Pippin,” which Fosse choreographed.
Ms. Reinking starred as Joan of Arc, opposite Joel Grey, in the short-lived 1975 musical “Goodtime Charley.” The next year, she joined the cast of “A Chorus Line.” She went on to appear in “Dancin’,” a musical revue directed and choreographed by Fosse, starting in 1978.
When “Dancin’” opened, The Times’s dance critic Jennifer Dunning wrote that Ms. Reinking had successfully made the leap from the chorus line to leading roles.
“There could be no doubt that Miss Reinking had joined the ranks of Broadway’s brightest stars,” Ms. Dunning wrote. “With her long legs, mane of silky, flying hair and feline intensity, Ms. Reinking is a standout in some very fast company.”
(Fosse said that he had choreographed one part of that show, “Trumpet Solo,” just so he could feature Ms. Reinking’s leggy extensions.)
“Ms. Reinking brings the same crackling, exuberant energy to whatever she does,” Ms. Dunning wrote.
In 1986, Ms. Reinking starred in a revival of “Sweet Charity.” That production also featured Bebe Neuwirth, who went on to perform opposite Ms. Reinking as Velma Kelly in the “Chicago” revival.
Ahead of the revival, Ms. Reinking said, she had never expected to dance onstage again. But after she at first said no to playing Roxie. Walter Bobbie, who became the show’s director, persisted.