The Royal Ontario Museum has brought one of Canada's seminal theatres back to life. The ROM's Museum Theatre (now renamed Theatre ROM) was home to Dora Mavor Moore's legendary New Play Society, one of Canada's founding theatre companies in the 1940s.
It was also where her son, Mavor Moore, launched the popular Spring Thaw, an annual revue that lasted into the 1960s.
Between 1946 and 1954, the Museum Theatre saw many of Canada's future stars find their stage feet, among them Robert Goulet, Lorne Greene and Christopher Plummer.
Now, a half-century later, the theatre has been re-opened and launches with a lengthened version of a Shaw Festival show, The Conjuror. Magician David Ben, and director and co-writer Patrick Watson, have put the magic show in 1909, at the height of Houdini's career. Set in St. George's Hall in London, England, with an Egyptian stage design, Ben is a young, brash colonial breaking into the magic scene, not above accompanying his tricks with period anecdotes referring to his acquaintances of the time, young journalist Rudyard Kipling and famous Egyptian archeologist T. E. Lawrence.
Among its many illusions is classic levitation, a re-creation of Okito's famous Floating Ball and The Egyptian Water Jars (not performed since Germain The Wizard last did it in 1916). The Conjurer plays through January, with a possible extension. For tickets: 416-870-8000.
--By Mira Friedlander