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Ticket holders react after remaining performances of ‘The Lion King’ canceled at Orpheum Theatre

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 9:57 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a line in “The Lion King” where Simba says, “I laugh in the face of danger.”

Well, Friday night, no one is laughing about the threat of COVID-19 after it shut down the hit Broadway show in Memphis.

“The Lion King” ticket holders learned at the last minute they wouldn’t be visiting the Serengeti at the Orpheum Theatre Friday night.

“Oh, no, this is sad! I was surprising them,” Zikiya Eaton exclaimed when she found out she and nine-year-old son Christian and 13-year-old friend Kirsten Madison wouldn’t be able to see the show.

“I’ve only seen it on YouTube and I wanted to see the real Broadway version,” said Kirsten.

A COVID-19 outbreak prompted an 11th-hour cancellation of the final four performances of “The Lion King.”

“I was crying when I found out,” said nine-year-old Lakeyn Brand.

“We’re sad,” said Dawn Brand. “We came this far and didn’t get to see it. We’re from Louisiana.”

The Orpheum pushed out emails and posted flyers on the front doors, informing families like Shannon Pittman’s about the unfortunate cancellation.

“The email said it was canceled because of COVID for the rest of the show,” said Pittman. “Someone in the cast got COVID.”

In a notice posted to social media shortly before the curtain was supposed to go up, the Orpheum announced breakthrough infections among the touring cast and local crew.

“The wellness and safety of our guests, cast, and crew are our top priority,” the notice said.

Some fans opted to head down the street to FedExForum to take in the Grizzlies game. Most adopted the Hakuna Matata motto: don’t worry about it.

“It is much better to be safe than sorry,” said Eaton, who is visiting Memphis from Miami, Florida.

Fans may remember when “The Lion King” was at the Orpheum in 2015 and a severe spell of cold weather canceled one of the performances.

Orpheum officials say ticket holders will receive automatic full refunds.

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