Apotheosis (apotheoses, pl.)
Ancient Greece and Rome
Apotheoses may include the appearance from above of gods, goddesses, angels, ghosts and spirits, and may also be made up entirely of scenic elements. In its earliest known form, the deus ex machina of the Roman theatre, with its counterpart in Ancient Greece, may be thought of as an apotheosis.
The Middle Ages and the Renaissance
In the Middle Ages, the apotheosis served to introduce such biblical figures as the Angel of the Annunciation, while in Renaissance Europe apotheoses were common fare in operas and court entertainments, typically to introduce gods and goddesses to the scene, or to display spectacular scenes of other-worldliness. See, for example, Giacomo Torelli's settings for Il Bellerofonte, published in Per Bjurstrom's Giacomo Torelli and Baroque Stage Design (1962,) and Inigo Jones' drawings and plans for an elaborate apotheosis in Salmacida Spolia, the last court masque before the interregnum.
The 18th and 19th Centuries
In the 18th century, Mozart for example, used apotheoses in The Magic Flute and in the 19th Wagner used them as well.
In the mid-twentieth century, Mary Martin was a Peter Pan apotheosis (although she probably never thought of herself that way), and in recent years, a spectacular apotheosis -- an angel --was employed in the production of Angels in America.
At the Cestnut Street Theatre
At the Chestnut Street Theatre, in 1816, the production of Aladdin, employed an apotheosis -- one which certainly could have been based on a "truss scaffold, which winds up and down by windlass" such as Henry Warren's plan of the painting room describes. The production, based almost entirely on the 1815 Covent Garden production, was described in a letter to Henry Warren from John Worrell, who included numerous drawings, including a drawing of "Olroc," who appears as a god-like figure in a bank of clouds.
(See Wolcott, John R. "English Influences on American Staging Practice, etc.," pp. 366-430 for a detailed description of the production, and for reproductions of John Worrell's drawings, including the drawing of "Olroc" in the apotheosis.