Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aspen Nightlife – The Wheeler Opera House

The Wheeler Opera House has been an 
integral part of Aspen nightlife, history, and 
culture since 1889 when Mr. J.B Wheeler and 
the Conried Company presented The King’s 
Fool. While the building started out as an 
Opera House, it was only used for town 
meetings and such by 1893, when the silver 
mines had played out.

The Wheeler Opera House remained open until 
1912 when it was gutted by not one, but two 
fires in one week! The Opera House did not 
open again until June of 1946 when it was 
leased by the Aspen Company. The total 
restoration went on until 1960. Between the 
years of 1912 and 1946 the Wheeler Opera 
House remained empty, and it was used as 
a playground by the local children.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, The Wheeler 
Opera House was mainly used as a movie 
theater. However, in 1979, the city decided to 
restore the Opera House to its original 
grandeur, and this restoration was completed 
in 1984. The cost was 4.5 million dollars. 
Today, the Wheeler Opera House is on the 
National Registrar of Historical Places.

Many events, such as lectures, concerts, plays,
 films, and musicals are held at The Wheeler 
Opera House today. You can see Broadway 
shows, jazz concerts, country and rock 
concerts, and even children’s theater here. 
Any type of cultural event you can imagine 
is held here – and shows are scheduled 
throughout the year. Locals consider the 
Wheeler Opera House the ‘crown jewel of Aspen.
’ Nationwide, it is considered a world class theater 
– and with the detailed woodwork it is certainly a 
sight to behold!

The Opera House is still in its original location 
on Hyman Avenue, in the heart of downtown 
Aspen. You can call to find out what events are 
planned, and to purchase tickets. Remember 
that this is a popular place, and shows do sell 
out quickly – so purchase your tickets as early 
as possible. You should also be aware that 
children under the age of three years old are 
not permitted for live performances, unless the 
performance is for children specifically. 
Cameras and recording devices are not 
permitted for performances.

The Wheeler Opera House can also be rented 
for a variety of special occasions and events, 
such as parties, receptions, weddings, 
conferences, and seminars. Events such as 
these are usually held on the second floor, 
where guests will enjoy a breathtaking view of 
Aspen Mountain, as well as the city.