10 Denver “Lion King” shows canceled in three days due to COVID outbreak among crew

Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday canceled another round of shows for the long-delayed touring run of “The Lion King,” which was scheduled to play downtown’s Buell Theatre through Jan. 2.

The newly canceled dates make for a total of 10 “Lion King” performances that have been called off over the last three days. Dates in today’s notice run from Tuesday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, Dec. 26 — and follow the last-minute cancellation of a Dec. 19 late performance of “The Lion King.”

Denver Center announced that Sunday cancellation about two hours before showtime, following breakthrough COVID-19 cases among its crew that prompted the decision, producers at the Denver Center said, and in line with its rigorous testing procedures.

Newly canceled dates include today’s (Tuesday, Dec. 22’s) pair of shows; the 7:30 p.m. show on Wednesday, Dec. 22; two shows on Thursday, Dec. 23; two shows on Friday, Dec. 24, and two shows on Sunday, Dec. 26.

“Performances are anticipated to resume on Tuesday, December 28 and an official update will be provided next week,” officials wrote in a press statement Tuesday afternoon. “Affected ticketholders will be refunded. We apologize for the disappointment, but please know that your wellbeing is our top priority.”

All tickets for those shows will be refunded via email, officials added. Those who purchased through unofficial third-party sellers should contact them directly for refund information.

“It is upsetting for everyone involved and these decisions do not come lightly,” wrote John Ekeberg, Denver Center’s executive director for Broadway and Cabaret. “We appreciate everyone for their understanding and patience as we all navigate this together with wellness as the priority.”

The recent, omicron-driven cancellations around the metro area, ranging from chorale shows and touring rock concerts to sporting events, could hardly come at a worse time, given that revenue from holiday shows often shores up the finances of arts and culture purveyors.

But the alarming spread of the omicron variant, which now accounts for most of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. but was just discovered in Denver on Monday, has halted influential productions in New York City and sent ripples of panic through the rest of the country.

Denver’s current public health order requires masks or proof of vaccination in Denver and other metro areas for everyone aged 2 and older in all public, indoor spaces until Jan. 3, unless otherwise extended, city officials said.

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