The Tony Award®–winning choreographer of the 1996 production of Chicago (the longest-running revival in Broadway history), Ann Reinking is known for her work as an actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer. Born in Seattle, she studied dancing early on at the San Francisco Ballet and, in her mid-teens, at New York’s Joffrey Ballet. In 1969 she made her debut as the Kit Kat Girl Lulu in Cabaret at the Broadway Theatre. She was in the ensemble for Coco (1969) – which starred Katherine Hepburn as Coco Chanel – and had a small part in the original Broadway cast of the musical Pippin (1972), understudying the role of Catherine, played by Jill Clayburgh. The choreographer for Pippin, Bob Fosse, would go on to play an important role in Reinking’s personal and professional life.
In the World War II-era musical Over Here! (1974), Reinking moved to center stage, sharing the limelight with two of the Andrews Sisters as well as a number of other soon-to-be stars: John Travolta, Treat Williams, Marilou Henner, and Samuel E. Wright.
Having won a Theatre World Award for her performance in Over Here!, Reinking went on to star as Joan of Arc in the original cast of Goodtime Charley (1975), playing opposite Joel Grey as Charley. Although she had injured herself recently in her previous show, the producers were determined to have Reinking in the leading role and delayed production until she was able to perform.
In 1975 she joined the cast of A Chorus Line, playing Cassie, and in 1977 she stepped in to play Roxie Hart in a hit directed by Bob Fosse, Chicago. Reinking was a member of the original cast of Dancin’ (1978), another music-and-dance revue directed and choreographed by Fosse. In fact, Reinking’s professional and personal relations with Fosse were reflected in Fosse’s autobiographical movie musical All That Jazz (1979), in which Reinking played Kate Jagger, one of the lovers of Joe Gideon, the character representing Fosse.
In 1986 she took over the lead role in a revival of Sweet Charity, playing the taxi dancer Charity. She increasingly turned her energies, however, toward choreography. In 1996 she won the Tony® for Best Choreography for her work “in the style of Bob Fosse” in the current Broadway revival of Chicago, which has surpassed 5,000 performances so far. She also reprised her role as Roxie early in the run, with an opening-night cast featuring Joel Grey, James Naughton, and Bebe Neuwirth in leading roles.
Fosse (1998), a tribute to the director and choreographer who had died in 1987, featured choreography by Fosse and Reinking, who also directed the show. Fosse won the Tony® for Best Musical, and Reinking was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical.
Most recently on Broadway, Reinking’s work has been seen in the Burt Bacharach revue The Look of Love (2003), which she choreographed and co-conceived.
Her movie credits include Annie (1982), Movie, Movie (1978), and the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom (2005), which shows Reinking as a ballroom-dance competition judge for New York inner-city kids.