There will soon be a new player in Madison's concert-booking game as the Orpheum Theatre tries to raise its profile. That player will be House of Blues Entertainment, according to Eve Paras, executive director of the historic 2,000-seat theater and founder of Orpheum Entertainment Group.
In addition to operating more than 50 venues across the country, House of Blues Entertainment is a division of the L.A.-based live-events behemoth Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010. Though this merger was approved by the U.S. Justice Department, it pits some independent concert promoters against the mega-corporation in the competition to book coveted touring acts. Bruce Springsteen has been one of the most vocal critics of the merger, calling it "a near monopoly situation" in a letter to his fans that appeared in Rolling Stone.
Paras was unavailable for comment but expressed enthusiasm about House of Blues Entertainment's dedication to "a variety of [entertainment] genres" in a news release. And House of Blues Entertainment CEO Ron Benison stressed that the company will "respect [the] unique character" of the beaux-arts landmark, which was a leading vaudeville palace in the 1920s. The venue still has its original terrazzo floors, chandeliers and stairway, as well as the statue of Orpheus that has watched over the entrance since day one.