Obituaries

Choreographer Alan Johnson Passes Away

BroadwayWorld has learned Alan Johnson, the choreographer best known for his work on the film version of West Side Story, as well as The Producers and other Mel Brooks films, has passed away in his sleep this morning.

This one is tough. Alan Johnson, my godmother, best friend to my parents and legendary choreographer and dancer- passed away in his sleep, this morning. Many emotions. He posed with my mother-they were the models-for the West Side poster. He was loved by many. We were roommates at one point. My mother used to have a room in all her apartments affectionately called "Alan's Room". He will be missed by so many whom he mentored and choreographed. He is now with his beloved pup, Puss??, a ciggie and a glass of red wine. Heaven has another angel. Rest In Peace, great man?? #dance #choreographer #alanjohnson #broadway #westsidestory #dancer

A post shared by Sasha Charnin Morrison?? (@sashacharninmorrison) on Jul 7, 2018 at 2:24pm PDT

Alan Johnson is an award-winning choreographer, best known for his work on Mel Brooks films and for restaging Jerome Robbins original choreography in live productions of West Side Story in the United States and internationally. Johnson made his Broadway debut in West Side Story in 1957.

Johnson has choreographed musical numbers in several Brooks' films, such as the infamous "Springtime for Hitler" number in The Producers, the "Spanish Inquisition" dance number from the film, History of the World Part I and "Puttin' On the Ritz" in Young Frankenstein.

Stage productions he choreographed include Legs Diamond, The First, So Long 174th Street, Baker Street, Anyone Can Whistle, and No Strings. He also choreographed solo and revue shows for Shirley MacLaine, Leslie Uggams, Bernadette Peters, Tommy Tune, Chita Rivera and Ann-Margret.

Other films in which he worked as a choreographer include: Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), History of the World: Part I (1981) The World's Greatest Lover (1977), Cos (1976) TV Series, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), Young Frankenstein (1974), Blazing Saddles (1974), The Producers (1968).

Johnson brought the West Side Story dance style back into the mainstream when he choreographed several Gap commercials in 2000, earning him an American Choreography award. He also choreographed commercials for Dubonnet and Freixenet Champagne.

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