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The Marks Brothers may well have been the most remarkable theatrical family in Canadian history. A phenomenon on the vaudeville circuit, the seven brothers left the farm and took to the boards and the footlights throughout the latter part of the 19th century and into the 1920s. The brothers from Christie Lake, near Perth in Eastern Ontario, played to an estimated eight million Canadians, as well as to sizeable audiences in the United States. Their road shows, largely melodramas and comedy, kept audiences crying, booing, laughing and cheering until movies sounded the death knell for touring repertory companies.

The publication of The Canadian Kings of Repertoire brings back for one more curtain call the seven Marks boys, top hats, diamond rings and all. Joining them in a farewell performance are their glamorous leading ladies and a superb cast of supporting players. So clear the aisles and up with the curtain. It’s showtime once more.

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