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A respiratory infection has sidelined actress Mary Walsh, forcing a postponed start for her one-woman show, Dancing with Rage. (Peter Ray/Canadian Press)

Actress Mary Walsh has been sidelined with a severe respiratory infection that has postponed the Toronto start of her one-woman show Dancing with Rage.

Her husband, Don Nichol, said she was admitted to hospital in St. John's on Tuesday with pneumonia. He expects her to be hospitalized for at least a week. 

Dancing with Rage had been slated for a preview performance at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille Tuesday night, the same day she was named a 2012 recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. The official opening night was to have followed on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, there are currently no tickets available for Mary Walsh's Dancing with Rage," the Toronto theatre group said in a statement online.

"Mary is currently recovering from a severe respiratory infection, necessitating the cancellation of several performances."

Nichol said Walsh was too ill to travel to Toronto to begin rehearsals. She also missed a ceremony in Calgary Tuesday, awarding her a Governor General's Award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

According to organizers, if Walsh's health improves over the next few days she could still open the show for the second half of the planned run.

Theatre Passe Muraille spokeswoman Heather Irwin said the theatre has cancelled performances for this week and the week of March 13. The show's run can't go beyond March 31, because another production, Prisoner of Tehran, is booked.

Artistic director Andy McKim said audiences were keen to see Walsh perform.

"It's a setback, but the first priority is Mary, who has turned the corner and doing better," he said.

In Dancing with Rage, the CODCO and This Hour Has 22 Minutes alumna mixes autobiographical tales with the stories behind some of her most famous characters, including her famed alter-ego Marg Delahunty, Princess Warrior.

Walsh debuted the show at the Resource Centre for the Arts in St. John's in February.