lion king

Disney's “The Lion King” is performed at The Buell Theatre by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. 

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts expects to begin reopening Broadway tours at the Buell Theatre by the end of 2021, beginning with “The Lion King” in December.

The announcement on Wednesday comes as the center has canceled 34 shows since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We couldn’t be more excited," said John Ekeberg, executive director of DCPA Broadway. “Our Broadway partners are beginning to plan for the return to live, indoor programming." 

Four Broadway tours previously scheduled for fall 2021 will be postponed as the industry reopens. Those tours are for “My Fair Lady,” “1776,” “Mean Girls” and “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations.”

While no specific schedule is available, Ekeberg said relaunching these tours will take months of work, requiring casting, rehearsing and building sets and costumes.

“Plus, it’s not enough that Denver’s COVID positivity rates have stabilized,” Ekeberg said. “The Broadway touring industry depends on an interconnected network of markets across the country, all of which must be ready to reopen — and stay open — at full capacity.”

Assuming restrictions are lifted by December, “The Lion King” is scheduled to run at The Buell Theatre from Dec. 2, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.

Following “The Lion King,” the next tour scheduled is for “Hamilton” in February 2022.

Other shows scheduled for 2022 are “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hadestown,” “Jersey Boys,” “Mean Girls,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” “Riverdance 25th Anniversary Tour,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Tootsie.”

Tickets for “The Lion King” are currently on sale at denvercenter.org.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is also offering many COVID-friendly productions throughout 2021, including the “Van Gogh Alive” art exhibit, the “Mixed Taste” lecture series and “The Bright Lights of Denver" podcast series.