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.
(word count 406)