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The original item was published from 6/8/2020 6:13:58 PM to 6/9/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: June 8, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Exterior Work on Wheeler Opera House Begins in July

The project is being expedited to lessen overall Wheeler closure time

Contact: Mitzi Rapkin, Communications Manager, City of Aspen, 970-319-2791 or

Aspen, CO (June 1, 2020): A necessary project to replace deteriorating bricks on the Wheeler Opera House is moving forward earlier than planned to mitigate future closures and take advantage of limited programming opportunities during COVID-19.  The project, initially scheduled for 2021 and 2022, will begin in July.

“With the COVID-19 issue, we aren’t sure when we will be able to safely fill our Wheeler seats to maximum capacity again. By taking care of these projects now, we won’t have to be closed in the spring, summer or fall of 2021 and 2022,” said Nancy Lesley, Interim Executive Director of the Wheeler Opera House.

Construction is scheduled to conclude in early December 2020 in time for the start of the 2020-2021Wheeler winter programming. Due to the building closure, the Wheeler Opera House’s summer series - Sunset Sessions in The Vault as well as Aspen Mountain Film Festival – are both canceled for this current year. A decision about the fall’s On the Rise series is still being considered.

“Our 130-year-old community venue has weathered many storms, and is in need of a little facelift,” said Lesley. “We recognize it’s never fun to close down a beloved gathering place, even for a short period of time, but the timing is right to expedite this project and have fewer impacts in the coming years.  We believe that is a win for the residents of Aspen and the Wheeler guests.”

During this construction, plans for winter programming will be ongoing to produce a winter season on par with the exceptional quality of entertainment presented these past few seasons, including Aspen Laugh Festival in February 2021.

Lesley said “Even though our doors will be closed, we are working to maintain the Wheeler’s mission of supporting local arts groups in our community. We will be making some announcements about how we plan to do that this summer very soon.”


Since 1889, the Wheeler Opera House has been Aspen’s community performance venue and has become the Roaring Fork Valley’s premiere site for concerts, movies, festivals, lectures, community events, opera, and more. In recent years, the Wheeler has been a leader in producing exceptional festivals in Aspen (Aspen Laugh Festival, Aspen Mountain Film Festival, and Shining Mountains Film Festival), celebrating the comedy arts, global issues, and the craft of songwriting. The Wheeler Opera House is owned and operated by The City of Aspen.

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