Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Broadway Black
Broadway BlackBroadway Black

Events and Happenings

Theater Royalty Gather To Celebrate Louis Johnson

Broadway legends flooded Symphony Space on Oct. 5 to attend the Up In The Air benefit, a tribute to famed choreographer Louis Johnson.

Theater greats including Phylicia Rashad, Melba Moore, Marva Hicks, George Faison, and Chita Rivera all participated in the exclusive event purposed to honor the life and works of Johnson as well as raise money for the full-length feature documenting his career, also entitled Up In The Air.

Most renowned for his choreography in the timeless film, The Wiz, Johnson was one of the first African Americans to appear in a Broadway ensemble.  Having been featured and learning from some of the dance greats, including Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins, Johnson began creating his own art in the 1950’s.  In addition to commissioning some of his most notable works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he also received a Tony Award nomination for his choreography in the 1970 musical Purlie. 

The evening was hosted by the regal Ms. Rashad and proved to be a glorious exhibition of Johnson’s contributions.  The Philadelphia Dance Company and Howard University’s department of dance restaged some of Johnson’s well known choreographed pieces.  Moore, an original cast member of Purlie, and Hicks, a former Howard University student of the tribute, both provided vocal selections in his honor.

The man behind the documentary- choreographer/writer/teacher and Up In The Air producer, David Robertson, provided one of the most thrilling pieces of the evening – a revival of the infamous Emerald city scene from “The Wiz” complete with special appearances of original dancers from the film.

Having been inspired by Johnson, Robertson has spent the last few years interviewing the sensation and building this tribute in hopes of creating a “lasting testament to his creative genius that will inspire future generations of artists.”

For more information and to contribute to Up In The Air, visit

Written By


You May Also Like

Broadway Black History Fact

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the Broadway debut of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play A Raisin In the Sun. It was on this date...

Award Nominations

The 52nd annual NAACP Image Award nominations have been announced. Among the list, you’ll see some very familiar Broadway Black stars that you know...


Any day money is put in the hands of black people, it’s a good day. The National Black Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,...

Events and Happenings

All those having a Hot Girl Semester can end it with a special treat to honor one of the OG Hot Girls, Ma Rainey....