Historical Society to debut updated ‘Briefly Complete History of Aspen’

Short play to premiere Friday at Willoughby Park

Staff report
Travis Lane McDiffett, Nina Gabianelli and Mike Monroney performing "A Briefly Complete History of Aspen.” An updated version will debut Friday in Willoughby Park (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

The Aspen Historical Society has updated its popular “A Briefly Complete History of Aspen” and will premiere the new play Friday.

The new version of this factual but funny and madcap run through local history now stretches from the days of the Utes up through the town’s mining and skiing eras to recent events like the 2018 Lake Christine Fire and the ongoing pandemic and real estate boom. It still runs under an hour.

The original version, written by actor and history coach Mike Monroney, premiered in 2010 and has since become a staple of valleywide middle school curriculum and Historical Society programming. It also has been presented at the American Association of Museums conference and at the reopening of Paepcke Auditorium at the Aspen Institute.

Monroney also penned this update, in which he co-stars with Nina Gabianelli and Travis Lane McDiffett.

“A Briefly Complete History of Aspen 2.0” will premiere at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Willoughby Park as part of the History on Tap series, which pairs beer with local history. Advance tickets are required ($15, includes one beer).

The show also will be presented Aug. 7 at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum as part of the Historical Society’s annual free Ice Cream Social, running 2-4 p.m. More information at


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