Owners Feud Threatens Orpheum

The historic Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wis., may be forced to close thanks to a messy feud between owners and a determination by the city’s alcohol commission that the venue doesn’t have a valid liquor license and has been selling booze illegally.

Alderman Mike Verveer told The Cap Times of Madison the city council, which ratified the Alcohol License and Review Commission’s decision, decided the 1,850-seat Orpheum would be closed for the foreseeable future, wiping out all scheduled events.

Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue notified the city that the Orpheum doesn’t have a valid seller’s permit and its Department of Financial Institutions records show the venue’s corporate status has been “delinquent” since Oct. 1, according to the The Cap Times.

Owners Henry Doane and Eric Fleming are said to be “estranged.” Fleming, reportedly deep in debt, attempted to gain a liquor license – and control of the Orpheum – last year under a new corporation he owns that excludes Doane.

The alcohol commission didn’t accept that arrangement and instead renewed an old license. A city spokeswoman told the Wisconsin State Journal that it appeared Fleming asked for the license to be invalidated.

The 86-year-old Orpheum includes a theatre and restaurant, and has presented such artists as Wilco, Trey Anastasio, Ween, Queensrÿche, and Atmosphere. It’s last reported show was June 3, with Feist and The Low Anthem.