Broadway used to be the province of the blue hairs. But lately, the blue hairs attending shows are as likely to be kids and teens as they are the ladies who lunch.
The Broadway League’s annual demographics report, The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2017–2018, has been released, comparing current Broadway theater-going habits in New York City to previous seasons. The Broadway League was founded in 1930 and is the national trade association for the industry.
From June 2017-May 2018, the League’s research department administered surveys at 49 different productions at 120 individual performance times. Shows were selected on a quarterly basis to represent what Broadway was offering that season (i.e., a proportionate number of musicals versus straight plays; revivals versus original works; and new productions versus long-running shows).
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Questionnaires were distributed at multiple performances per show to account for variances in the weekday, weekend, evening, and matinee audiences. Completed questionnaires were tabulated and weighted based upon the actual paid attendance for each show. In total, 36,000 questionnaires were distributed and 20,091 were returned, representing a 56% rate of return.
The 21st publication is just out and reports the lowest age attendance since 2000, a significant bit of hope for Broadway’s long-term health. During the 2017–2018 season, the average age of Broadway theater-goers was 40.6, the lowest since 2000. For a second year in a row, there was a record total number of kids and teens under 18 attending a Broadway show. At 2.1 million, it represents the highest total ever (it was 1.65 million the season prior). Additionally, since the 2010-2011 season, Hispanic/Latino attendance has grown by 61%, or 430,000 admissions (from 710,000 to 1.14 million).
“This report shows that the vast majority of current theater-goers had some connection to theater-going as a child, which is why programs like Kids’ Night on Broadway, Broadway Bridges, and the Jimmy Awards are so important in encouraging young people to be interested in theater,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “It’s exciting to see record numbers of kids and teens attending Broadway shows. In addition, since the creation of Viva Broadway in 2011, we’ve seen the Hispanic/Latino attendance grow by 61%. Broadway is truly for everyone, and with the wide variety of productions available, audiences are really responding.”
MORE FROM THE REPORT:
* In the 2017–2018 season, Broadway shows welcomed 13.8 million admissions.
* Approximately 38% of those attendances were by people from the New York City metropolitan area.
* Sixty-three percent of admissions were made by tourists: 48% from the United States (but outside New York City and its suburbs) and 15% from other countries.
* Sixty-six percent of the audiences were female.
* A record 2.1 million admissions were made by children and teens.
* The average age of the Broadway theater-goer was 40.6 years old, the lowest since 2000.
* Since the 2010-2011 season, Hispanic/Latino attendance has grown by 61% or 430,000 admissions (from 710,000 to 1.14 million).
* Of theater-goers age 25 or older, 81% had completed college and 41% had earned a graduate degree.
* The average annual household income of the Broadway theater-goer was $222,120.
* The average Broadway theater-goer reported attending 5 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5.5% of the audience, but accounted for 31% of all tickets (4.3 million admissions).
* Playgoers tended to be more frequent theater-goers than musical attendees. The typical straight-play attendee saw nine shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
* Sixty percent of respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
* The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 43 days before the performance.
*The majority of theater-goers attended in pairs or small groups of family or friends.
* Approximately a third of responses included some kind of personal recommendation including word-of-mouth, asking friends, or reading posts on social media.
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