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Madison Theater has a New GM and a Bright Vision for the Future

Frank Hulefeld, the newly minted general manager of the Madison Theater and Madison Live! concert venues in Covington, has a clear vision for the future of the sites, particularly as the entire live entertainment industry is recuperating from the pandemic. 

Hulefeld, who used to own the Madhatter on Scott Blvd. in Covington, says that he has three goals for the theater: be a champion of the surrounding businesses and region, do more work with charities, and become the heart of local bands in the region. 

"When you think about all the good things in the region, there's going to be some good energy that you notice," Hulefeld said. "We're all about that, we want to be adding good vibes."

Since taking the position, Hulefeld said that he has identified 27 surrounding businesses in the area that he has contacted to work with. His ideas are to provide menus to local restaurants in the greenroom for the bands to look through, tagging local businesses in social media posts, and offering tickets to shows for bars and restaurants to do giveaways. 

Hulefeld also wants to support local charities by having fundraising shows at the venues. Although he said he hasn't figured out which charities to focus on, he expressed a desire to combat teenage addiction and support the Ion Center, formerly known as the Women's Crisis Center.

Lastly, he wants to elevate local talent. He said his goal is to fly agents in from around the country and have the bands in the community play for them in hopes of getting signed onto a label. 

"When a promoter fights for that, it can happen," Hulefeld said. "We want to do something for these bands and we're going to open it up to everyone." 

Hulefeld said that the community's reception to him and his aspirations has been great, adding that he has had good conversations with Mayor Joe Meyer, and State Rep. Buddy Wheatley. 

Another focal point for Hulefeld is the Madison Live! stage - a 300-person venue located nextdoor to the theater that he believes could feature smaller, more frequent shows. 

When asked about the new Icon and Ovation venues in Cincinnati and Newport, Hulefeld calmly explained that he doesn't think of them as competition, saying that even though it's the same industry, they're trying to attract different talent.

"We just want to be adding good vibes to the community right here," Hulefeld said. 

The Madison Theater and Madison Live! are gaining momentum as shows are scheduled for September and a full-schedule should be resumed by October.  

-Connor Wall, associate editor