Mickey's the sorcerer, with apprentices Disney-style magic at the Academy of Music.

Posted: November 24, 2006

As the youngest of three, illusionist Brad Ross always yearned for attention. When his parents hired a magician for his fifth birthday party, it opened his eyes to a world of magical possibilities - and stirred his desire to be a magician. Ross honed his skills performing at parties and local events, which led to his own show at Six Flags.

This weekend he is one of the magicians headlining Disney Live! Presents Mickey's Magic Show at the Academy of Music. Ross says the performance is a spectacular celebration of the "magic that lives inside of us." The crowd is invited on a magical journey as Cinderella's rags are transformed into a beautiful ball gown, Princess Jasmine floats through the air without the help of a magic carpet, and the dancing brooms from Fantasia sashay across the stage. Ross, 25, hopes children will "walk away with the belief that if you practice as hard as you can, and believe in your dreams, anything is possible."

"Disney Live! Presents Mickey's Magic Show," 11 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets. Tickets: $19-$34. Information: 215-731-3333 or www.kimmelcenter.org/broadway.

Brandywine Christmas

The halls of a century-old Victorian dollhouse have been decked, 2,000 feet of track for the model trains have been carefully laid, and the "critter" ornaments - handcrafted from natural dried materials by museum volunteers - have been hung with care as the Brandywine River Museum begins its annual Christmas celebration this weekend.

A Brandywine Christmas will also feature an exhibition of jewelry inspired by Andrew Wyeth's paintings, which adorn the walls of the museum year-round, and a display of watercolors from The Imaginary Beasts of Royal Lacey Scoville, an unpublished narrative, illustrated by Scoville for his daughter's amusement.

A Brandywine Christmas, today through Jan. 7 at the Brandywine River Museum, Routes 1 and 100, Chadds Ford. Admission: $8; $5 seniors, students; free for children under 6. Information: 610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org.

A comic cat

Mutts comic creator Patrick McDonnell reminds us that heaven can be a place on earth if we just appreciate the simple things. That's the message of his new book, Just Like Heaven. The follow-up to the successful The Gift of Nothing, Just Like Heaven has Mooch the cat falling asleep under a tree on a lazy afternoon. He awakes in a sea of fog, believing he is in heaven: The flowers smell like perfume, children are laughing all around him, and he even hugs a bulldog. When the fog lifts, Mooch realizes he has been on earth the whole time, but still feels as if he's floating on air. McDonnell will autograph copies of the book at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square Wednesday.

Patrick McDonnell book-signing, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble, 1805 Walnut St. Free. Information: 215-665-0716 or www.barnesandnoble.com.

Contact writer Brooke Honeyford at bhoneyford@phillynews.com.

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