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

on Dec16
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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 the smash-hit “A Chorus Line,” then 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.)

In 1986, Ms. Reinking starred in a revival of “Sweet Charity,” a production that also featured Bebe Neuwirth, who went on to perform opposite Ms. Reinking as Velma Kelly in the “Chicago” revival.

Before the “Chicago” revival, Ms. Reinking, by then in her 40s, had never expected to dance onstage again, she said. Indeed, at first she turned down the offer to play Roxie again. But the director, Walter Bobbie, persisted, and she relented.

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

Ms. Reinking later found roles on the screen as well, notably as the billionaire Oliver Warbucks’s secretary, Grace Farrell, in the 1982 movie version of the hit musical “Annie.” In the number “We Got Annie,” Ms. Reinking’s character — who had encouraged her boss to adopt the orphaned title character — performs a victory dance in which she leaps and twirls, celebrating along with other members of Daddy Warbucks’s staff.

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