Once again, I have a bunch of topics I could write about today. And, in fact, I have just written an obit post on my travel blog about a Greek guy whose restaurant we used to patronize a lot when we lived near Stuttgart. I could write about politics again, or the COVID-19 pandemic… or even my impressions of The Crown, which is a very addictive show on Netflix. But instead, I think I’d like to offer my thoughts on the sudden passing of Broadway great, Ann Reinking.
If you were around in the 1970s and 80s, and paid any attention to Broadway and Hollywood, you might remember the wonderful dancer, singer, and actress Ann Reinking was. I was first introduced to her in 1982, when I went to the movies with my sister. We’d traveled to Williamsburg, Virgnia on a sunny weekend to see the movie, Annie, starring Aileen Quinn. Aileen Queen is about my age, and although I don’t remember having any particular desire to see Annie, I really enjoyed the movie and its story, which I had not known prior to seeing the film. I do remember seeing an Annie Playbill from a Broadway in our house, though. Maybe my parents or another sister saw it on Broadway.
Anyway, I was less enchanted by Aileen Quinn than I was the beautiful Ann Reinking, who was in her early 30s at the time. She was so graceful and pretty. I remember thinking she looked like she was floating when she danced.
Shit… now I want to watch Ann’s films. One I liked even more than Annie was All That Jazz. All That Jazz is a 1979 film based on the life of Bob Fosse, who was a famous choreographer. Ann Reinking was in the film, but she was also Fosse’s muse in real life and, for awhile, was his companion after he and Gwen Verdon divorced. I used to love to go to the library at Longwood College (now University) and watch All That Jazz on laser disc. It was a great way to escape for a couple of hours. And Ann Reinking was so young and magnetic in her role as Kate Jagger, companion to Joe Gideon, the character who was modeled after Fosse.
One of my friends only knew of Ann Reinking because of this unfortunate performance of “Against All Odds”, a song made famous by Phil Collins in the mid 1980s.
And again in 1988 with Tommy Tune, as they remembered George Burns.
I remember she even had a turn on The Cosby Show back in the 1980s. I couldn’t find a clip of that episode, though. It was called “Bald and Beautiful”.
I read that Ann died in her sleep on Saturday, December 12th, while at a Seattle area hotel. She was visiting her older brother, as their family was originally from Seattle. She was 71 years old, and at this point, it is not known was caused her death.
I am not a dancer myself, but my sister was one for years. I learned to appreciate watching dance, even if my particular skills are in making music rather than interpreting it. I always had huge respect for Ann Reinking, for she was a triple threat, and I found her mesmerizing to watch.
2020 has really been a rough year. We’ve said goodbye to a lot of wonderful people, especially in the entertainment world. Ann Reinking wasn’t someone I thought of every day, but every time I saw her dance, it made me stop in my tracks and pay attention. She was in a class by herself. My heart goes out to the people who knew her well, loved her, and are left behind to miss her… certainly her family, but also her many friends and admirers. As long as we can watch her films, she’ll never be forgotten.
The featured photo is a screen grab of Ann Reinking’s performance with Tommy Tune. So are the two photos above.