Louis Johnson also choreographed the films Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) and The Wiz (1978)
The Wiz Had The Most Expensive Film Sequence Shot At This NYC Landmark
“The World Trade Center Plaza was the site of The Wiz’s “Emerald City Sequence.” A more modern take-off on the traditional story of The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz juxtaposes the fairy tale in a fantastical version of New York City and chooses the FiDi (financial district)—the economic Mecca of Manhattan—as the perfect location of Emerald City. Veteran Broadway choreographer, Louis Johnson, choreographed The Wiz and got to really use his imagination and invention for “Emerald City Sequence” which is not part of the original Broadway score.
“Since the film was shot in and around New York City, Lumet decided that the World Trade Center would represent Emerald City. The production for the scene was massive and they had to place 22 playback speakers for the dancers, otherwise, the dancers in the back would hear the music a half-second after the dancers in the front.
The Louis Johnson-choreographed piece utilized 400 dancers making three costume changes in this one number. The “Emerald City Sequence” was the most expensive shoot ever filmed at the World Trade Center.”(Cecelia Antoinette, Adrian Bailey, Grace Jones, Venida Evans, Sirlouis Jones, Debbie McIntyre, Bruce Hawkins, Dana McBroom Manno, Starletta DuPois, Cornell Ivey, Sherry Bronfman, Jill Williams, Ted D Williams, Louis Johnson, Debbie McIntyre, Loretta Abbott, Obediah Wright, Gary Q Lewis, Bernard J. Marsh, Adrian Bailey, Dottie Fox, Cindi Retiman, Leah Randolph-Bridwell ,Lois Hayes and Dyane Harvey-Salaam at Sardi’s Restaurant. ) NYC [Photo by PARTYPOPARATTZI]