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DINOSAURS TAKE OVER THE ROM

Beware of flying dinosaurs, Toronto.

A new and exciting exhibit is now taking wing in the Royal Ontario Museum. "Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight," a traveling exhibit making its only Canadian stop at the ROM, explores new research into the relationship between birds and dinosaurs.

Thirty-four new fossils unearthed in Northeast China, dating as far back as 125 million years, shed light on the origins of our fine-feathered friends. The exhibit is co-curated by the Beipiao City Paleontological Research Center in Liaoning, China, and the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah.

Visitors will get to experience the debate and discovery of the new research through photographs, models and sculpture, including a life-sized Therizinosaurus, by Dinosaur Museum director and curator Stephen Czerkas. Younger children can also take part in the Wonder Bread Zone of Wonder, featuring a dinosaur dig and 3-D puzzles. Entrance to "Feathered Dinosaurs" includes admission to the ROM's own family-friendly display, "The Bird Connection."

The exhibit continues through Sept. 5 in the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall of the ROM, 100 Queen's Park in downtown Toronto. Admission to the exhibit is free with paid general admission ($15 adults; $12 students and seniors; $10 children; ages 4 and under are free). Advanced, timed tickets are available through TicketKing, (800) 461-3333 or (416) 872-1212. For 24-hour info, call (416) 586-8000 or visit www.rom.on.ca

Poets celebrated

The Canadian National Poetry Month will be celebrated with a series of readings at the Harbourfront Centre. On April 13, Margaret Avison, winner of the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize and a two-time Governor General's Award recipient, will read from "Always Now, Volume Three," a career retrospective.

Avison will be joined by Evelyn Lau, whom the Calgary Herald called "one of our greatest confessional writers," contemporary critic Jennifer LoveGrove and Jay MillAr, who brings his environmental research to the table.

Continuing with the Centre's International Readings series is a special evening with Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally on April 20. Known for his controversial and contemporary voice in dramas "Love! Valour! Compassion!," "Master Class" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman," McNally is one of today's most celebrated playwrights. He will read from his new book of plays on art, "The Stendhal Syndrome."

Both events take place at 7:30 p.m. in the York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Tickets are $8, free for members and students with valid ID. For information and tickets, call the Harbourfront Centre box office at (416) 973-4000 or visit www.readings.org

Witches, hobbits unite

As winter turns into the spring, so does Mirvish Production's theatrical season change gears with a number of newly announced productions.

Mirvish presents the Canadian premiere of Broadway's celebrated new hit musical, "Wicked." Based on Gregory Maguire's book and with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz ("Pippin," "Godspell"), "Wicked" re-imagines the relationship between the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch from "The Wizard of Oz." The production runs in the Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria St., through April 24.

Mirvish also announces the closing of the long-running "Mamma Mia!" After four years at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the musical based on the music of Swedish pop group ABBA, will play its last performance on May 22.

The exciting and long-awaited stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" will make its world premiere in the Princess of Wales Theatre next year, it was recently announced. The epic three-hour stage version is expected to feature groundbreaking technical design and never-before-seen theatrics.

Auditions for the musical -- including hobbits -- take place this month across Canada. Visit www.lotr.com for more information.

Also coming soon is a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Evita," based on the life of Argentinean first lady Eva Peron. "Evita" opens April 27 in the Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. West.

Trey Anthony's hit Canadian play " 'da Kink in My Hair" will be held beginning Wednesday through April 24 The Toronto-based play is an unforgettable celebration of black women and their funny, poignant and moving stories of struggle and life.

Tickets for all Mirvish productions are available by calling TicketKing at (800) 461-3333 or (416) 872-1212. More information on all shows is available at www.onstagenow.com