Louis Johnson, whom “Up in the Air” is about,was born in Statesville, North Carolina March 19, 1931. Johnson was one of the first African Americans to perform in a Broadway show. Some of the shows that he danced in were Aida, House of Flowers, Hallelujah baby and both the stage and screen versions of Bob Fosses Damn Yankees.
As a choreographer Johnson created popular ballets for Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey. In 1970 he was nominated for a Tony Award for his choreography in the musical Purlie. One film that he is well known for choreographing is The Wiz, which starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.