The Sydney Opera House was forced to cancel a sell-out show yesterday after one of the world’s most renowned hypnotists plunged to his death from an 11th floor apartment in Pyrmont.
Dr Scott Lewis was in Sydney for a show entitled The Illusionists 2.0, which opened at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday.
But two days into the Vegas-style spectacular, tragedy struck when the master performer failed to board the morning shuttle bus that was to transport him and his onstage colleagues to the venue.
His body was discovered about 9.40am on a fourth floor balcony at the Goldsbrough Mort building in Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont.
He was dead when ambulance crews and police arrived.
A crime scene was established and several police vehicles surrounded the building as investigations continued throughout the day.
Several people staying in the building, which is divided into residential apartments and hotel rooms, reported hearing a woman scream as she saw an object fall. ‘‘We thought it was a false alarm,’’ one resident said.
At 2pm on Saturday, the Opera House would only confirm that the Saturday matinee performance had been cancelled due to ‘‘unforseen cirumstances’’.
Later it released a statement confirming the news, while hailing Dr Lewis as a wonderful performer who would be ‘‘greatly missed’’.
It also declared the show would go on, ‘‘dedicating the [7pm] performance to Dr Lewis tonight’’.
‘‘The company is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Dr Lewis,’’ said Tim Lawson, co-producer of the show. ‘‘The entire company has decided to continue the show in his honour, and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.’’
The Opera House brought The Illusionists back to Sydney after their smash run in 2011 became one of the venue’s biggest selling shows.
The event features seven internationally acclaimed and award-winning illusionists who are all specialists in their chosen fields.
The stars, who hail from Australia, Portugal, Belgium, UK, US and South Korea, combine hypnotism, magic, escapism and daredevil stunts with spectacular pyrotechnics and 3D technology.
Considered the leading figure of the team, Dr Lewis has been hypnotising patients professionally for 25 years and the promotional website says that he holds the distinction of having had the longest-running comedy hypnosis show in Las Vegas history, having appeared at the Riviera Hotel for nine years.
As a recognised hypnosis expert with two self-help books under his belt, he was also a regular on US national television.
Police confirmed on Saturday evening they had yet to contact Dr Lewis’s family and were not treating the death as suspicious. A report will be prepared for the coroner.
- Sydney Morning Herald