Wheeler Opera House

Learn more about the theater's history as told through the photos in the bar lobby.

Wheeler Opera House

Aspen, Colorado 81611, United States

Created By: Wheeler Opera House

Tour Information

Each photograph is highlighted as a Point of Interest.

Click on a point of interest to read the text accompanying each photo. Photos and Text courtesy of the Aspen Historical Society.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

circa 1902 A turn-of-the-century chorus line for the Elk's Minstrel Show at the Wheeler Opera House circa 1902.  Fourth from the right is Mary Ella Stallard. Note the trap in the floor of the stage. That device was lost when the stage bur... Read more
1903 Aspen Elementary School (1st-4th grades) performing the play “The Fairy Queen” on the Wheeler Opera House stage in 1903.
1889 A patriotic tableau of 14 young women on stage of the Wheeler Opera House. There is a 40 star flag indicating circa 1889 when South Dakota became a state. Photo Credit: Aspen Historical Society, Shaw Collection
1951 A large group of people on stage at the Wheeler Opera House for the Meet Arizona production presented by the Aspen Masque & Music Club in December of 1950.  The woman with the baton is the director, Kathryn Hessler (Allen?- newspa... Read more
1949 Paula Mechau, Carl Jonas, Herbert Bayer and Dorik Mechau. Household chairs served for seating and the stage, still awaiting repair from the 1912 fire, forced the performer into his audience. 
1953 Fred Iselin, Master of Ceremonies seems to have heard a sour note from the unidentified Cowgirl Singers. Equally unimpressed in the background are Roy Vroom, Thelma Sabbatini, and Jim Rouse.
early 1950s I’ve Had it played at the Wheeler Opera House April 1952 (world premier)- Written by Luke Short (Fred Glidden), Music by Joe Marsala, Directed by Frank Meyers
April 1952 Fred Glidden’s and Joe Marsala’s original Aspen Musical I’VE HAD IT. These rehearsal photos reveal a large cast of Aspen residents working on writer, Luke Short’s (Glidden) libretto and jazz star, Marsala’s, paean to ea... Read more
early 1950s The plot revolved around the conflict between “townies” working at the Hotel Jerome and the summer visitors, the music students. Lou Dean and Adele Marsala apply make-up in the old dressing cubicle under the stage. Photo by ... Read more
January, mid 1950s An uncomfortable Dan Dailey attempts to keep up with hoofers, Dick Murphy and Steve Knowlton. It’s interesting that what was once known as “amateur night” has now become “talent night”.
January, 1954 Lana Turner clowns with Master of Ceremonies, Fred Iselin. Sally Baker Williams, Bunny and Jim Roushe, Dick Murphy, and Dean Billings are in the background
1965 Karly Roosevelt and Robin Molney  ponder a pause.  
1965 Phil Clark as “Daddy” is besieged by “Mother”, “Grandma,” and “The Social Worker.”
1964 Kelly Nicholson, Art Jarboe, Sally Dale, Ross Griffin, Carol Anderson, Carol Ann Jacobson pass an evening incarcerated in the Meanly, Kansas train depot.
1964 The cast awaits the arrival of a “real” train onstage. 
1985 Zack (Jere Michael) leads the Chorus.
1986 Dolly Levi (Nancy Mills) and the Company in their Sunday clothes. 
1989 The Rainbow Theater & Aspen Public School's original musical starring the Fourth Grade. The musical encompassed everything from the construction of the Opera House to today’s [1989's] development crunch. A lively (and youthful) ... Read more


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