Tony Award-winning Broadway actress Ann Reinking died on Sunday night, reports Variety. She was 71.
The news was confirmed by her sister-in-law Dahrla King.
“The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party,” her family said in a statement. “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!!!”
Dancer and choreographer Christopher Dean announced the news in a Facebook post on Monday (14 December).
“The lights on Broadway are forever more dim this morning and there is one less star in the sky,” he wrote. “The good news is that heaven has the very best choreographer on earth now.”
An actor, dancer, and choreographer, Reinking portrayed Roxie Hart in 1977’s Chicago, replacing Gwen Verdon. She reprised the role in 1996 when Chicago got a stage revival.
Born in 1949, Reinking started her career in a Seattle Opera House production of Bye Bye Birdie in the mid 1960s. In 1969, she starred in Cabaret. In addition to Chicago, Reinking’s Broadway roles include Sweet Charity, Over Here!, and Goodtime Charley.
Working as a choreographer for the Chicago revival, Reinking earned a Tony Award for best choreography in 1997.
She also memorably played Grace Farrell in the 1982 film adaptation of Annie.
Reinking’s final Broadway musical was Fosse, which she co-created, co-directed, and co-choreographed. She took her final bow in 2001 when she replaced an ensemble member.
Margaret Qualley portrayed Reinking in the FX limited series Fosse/Verdon; Reinking was director and choreographer Bob Fosse’s muse and romantic partner from 1972 to 1978.
Reinking is survived by her husband, Peter Talbert, and her son Chris.