Wheeler Opera House announces new summer series

Staff report
Local comedian Beth Brandon will host an open mic as part of the Wheeler Opera House's new Sunset Series on June 7.
Courtesy photo |

The Wheeler Opera House is launching a free new summer performance series called Sunset Sessions in June.

The program will feature music, spoken word and comedy in the newly designed Wheeler Bar Lobby Stage area.

The Aspen Music Festival and School leases the Wheeler during the summer months to stage operas. Since taking over as Wheeler executive director in 2015, Gena Buhler has discussed activating the bar with a small stage for summer events in the intimate space with its Aspen Mountain views.

“While we love having full-scale operas produced and performed on the main stage all summer long, the new Sunset Sessions series is a fun way to welcome the community into the Wheeler with diverse programming,” Buhler said in the Sunset Sessions announcement, later adding: “Programming will range from musicians that have a tie to Colorado, community events such as open mic nights and poetry slams, and maybe even some trivia nights. The new performance environment has a state of the art audio system and a somewhat ‘jazz club seating’ space.”

The series opens with a concert by San Francisco-based musician Kevin Heinz on Friday, June 2. Aspen comedian and Aspen Daily News columnist Beth Brandon will host a stand-up open mic June 7. Those events, and the entire first season of Sunset Sessions, will be free and open to the public. The bar will open at 7 p.m. and all performances begin at 8 p.m.

July and August performances will be announced in June and will include a community poetry slam, a music night, writers’ open mic and a “Geeks Who Drink” trivia night.

There are 10 to 12 five-minute slots available for local comics at the June 7 open mic. Those interested in signing up can do so at or 970-920-5220.

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