Wheeler Opera House re-opening pushed to Jan. 8 | AspenTimes.com

Wheeler Opera House re-opening pushed to Jan. 8

Staff report

The much-anticipated grand re-opening of the Wheeler Opera House has been rescheduled for Jan. 8-10, 2016, the Wheeler announced Thursday.

Originally scheduled for Dec. 18-20, 2015, the postponed re-opening is due to unforeseen structural repair issues recently revealed during the current renovations which are requiring additional work hours in an already tight schedule. The project required a new opening in an existing masonry wall. The condition of the wall required unanticipated additional engineering and structural supports. The support system has been re-engineered and the repairs are underway.

"There's been a lot of buzz and excitement brewing over the grand re-opening of the Wheeler and we hope that continues even if we have to wait a little longer," executive director Gena Buhler said in a press release. "When you're renovating a building that's 126-years-old, issues arise and we want to ensure we take the additional time that's necessary to get the building ready for its next 150 years of service to the community. The renovation project is proceeding well; we just need time to take some unplanned additional steps."

With the support of the Aspen Music Festival and School, patrons will still be able to enjoy Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox (Dec. 19) and An Evening with Kevin Smith (Dec. 20) at Harris Concert Hall (960 N. 3rd Street). Ticket holders will be notified of the venue change.

The New Year's Eve performance of The Slambovian Circus of Dreams was not able to be rescheduled, but the Wheeler is working with the band to bring them back to Aspen for New Year's Eve 2016. In the case of the New Year's Eve cancellation, ticket buyers will be refunded in full, at point of purchase. The Wheeler box office will be contacting patrons who purchased tickets to the New Year's Eve show. The annual holiday traditions of Aspen Film's Academy Screenings (December 22-January 2) and Crossroad Church's Christmas Eve services (December 24) will also all take place in Harris Concert Hall.

Aspen Film executive director John Thew said in the announcement: "Gena and her Wheeler team are going out of their way to ensure Aspen Film patrons have the same world-class experience at Harris Concert Hall as they would have had at the Wheeler. While we are disappointed the Wheeler will not be ready for this year's Academy Screenings, we are pleased to return to Harris Concert Hall which many of our patrons will remember was home for Aspen Film's Academy Screenings as recently as the 2011-12 holiday season. This minor change in venues is not such a big deal when one considers all we have to look forward to when the Wheeler renovation is complete."

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Charles Cunniffe, principal at Charles Cunniffe Architects and lead architect for the project said: "The Wheeler Opera House is one of Aspen's most treasured, historic structures; great care has been taken to respect not only its past, but its future. It is imperative that the structural and historic integrity of the Wheeler Opera House is honored, as well as the overall guest experience. The additional time ensures the intent to structurally safeguard the building for generations to come."

The Wheeler's new grand re-opening weekend will feature three events including Charles Ross' One-Man Star Wars™ Trilogy (Friday, Jan.8), a double feature of Warren Miller films Streif and Chasing Shadows (Saturday, Jan. 9) and a free community concert with recording artist Seth Glier (Sunday, Jan. 10). The free concert is made possible by funding from the Wheeler Real Estate Transfer Tax. Patrons who purchased tickets to the December screening of "Chasing Shadows" will be contacted regarding new date/time of screening.

The Aspen Show Tickets Box Office (temporarily located at 312 E. Hyman Ave.) will reopen onsite at the Wheeler on Wednesday, December 16. Tickets to Wheeler Opera House events and Aspen Film's Academy Screenings can be purchased any time at http://www.aspenshowtix.com.

GRAND RE-OPENING WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

One-Man Star Wars™ Trilogy | Friday, January 8 (8 PM)

One man can do it all! Much of Charles Ross’ childhood was spent in a galaxy far, far away, watching Star Wars™ videos over – and over – and over again. The result of this misspent youth is his hilarious One-Man Star Wars™ Trilogy, where he single-handedly plays all the characters, flies the ships, fights the battles and condenses the plots into just sixty minutes! If you’ve already seen the movies, read the books and named your first-born Skywalker, Ross’ zany take on Star Wars™ is right up your alley and sure to leave a lasting impression. Tickets are $20.

Streif | Saturday, January 9 (5:30 PM)

For 75 years, the annual Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel, Austria, has produced unforgettable triumphs and heartrending tragedies, a heritage that is full of myths and legends. Nowhere else is skiing celebrated so intensely. The city, the nation, and the entire winter sports world go crazy for the battles that play out on the slopes, and the race down the Streif is the most anticipated event of all – the Superbowl of skiing. Streif – One Hell of a Ride vividly shares this momentous occasion, plus everything done in preparation. The ultimate ski race movie, produced by Planet Watch, presented by Red Bull Media House. Tickets are $10.

Chasing Shadows | Saturday, January 9 (8:30pm)

Chasing Shadows, the 66th annual winter sports film from Warren Miller Entertainment, is a celebration of why we commit ourselves every winter to a passion that’s guaranteed to melt away every spring. Warren Miller once said, “A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom,” and this year, we’re chasing storms, snow, lines that live on the world’s highest peaks, and the freedom that these things grant us. Explore what it means to be inspired, and what it is about exotic locations and snow-covered summits that motivate us to keep searching for more. As skiers and snowboarders we chase a feeling, a memory, a storm, a turn – we’ve been chasing it our whole lives and we’ll keep chasing it a lifetime more. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 day of show.

Seth Glier | Sunday, January 10 (8 PM)

Despite his relatively young age, MPress recording artist Seth Glier is a seasoned troubadour. A singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who averages over 250 live performances annually, Seth has gone from opening act to headlining his own shows and playing major festivals. He’s shared the stage with artists as diverse as James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, Edwin McCain, Martin Sexton, Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams, and has quickly become known for his passionate live sets and powerful command of both piano and guitar. His music has also caught the ears of fans, industry and critics alike, with USA Today stating that his “exquisite tenor echoes Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.”

Free for the community concert made possible by Wheeler Real Estate Transfer Tax.

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