Be More Chill and Beetlejuice notwithstanding, the average Broadway theatergoer hasn’t gotten much younger over the last couple decades: Of the 14.8 million people who attended a Broadway show during the 2018-19 season, the average age was 42 years old, about a year older than during the previous season.
The average age has stayed in the 40-45 range for two decades.
That’s one of the findings in the 22nd annual demographics report issued by the Broadway League today. The report is an analysis of the make-up of the record-setting 14.8 million Broadway attendees of the ’18-19 season.
But in a rising tide lifts all boats manner, the overall number of young people mirrored the upward trend of Broadway attendance, with 3.4 million theatergoers under age 25 taking in a show last season, the third consecutive season that the demo surpassed 3 million.
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Similarly, the number of non-Caucasian theatergoers hit a record high of 3.8 million, even as the overall percentage of attendees remained significantly white: 74%.
Pointing to the current season’s Broadway offerings such as Tina, West Side Story, My Name is Lucy Barton and Slave Play, Thomas Schumacher, Chairman of the Broadway League said in a statement, “The breadth of this programming diversity is exactly what we on Broadway are supposed to do: serve the widest possible audience by doing work that appeals to them. Unmistakably, we have further to go but how gratifying that we continue to see younger and more diverse audiences year in and out.”
Tourists continued to contribute mightily to Broadway’s pot, with 2.8 million international visitors attending a show, an all-time high. Ticket-buyers from other countries made up 19% of the total audience, a jump over last year’s 15%. Attendees from the U.S. outside New York made up 46% of the Broadway audience, down slightly from last year’s 48%. Approximately 35% of attendees were from the New York City metropolitan area.
Sixty-eight percent of the audiences were female (roughly the same as the previous season), and the average annual household income of the Broadway theatergoer was $261,000, a significantly fatter household wallet than the previous year’s $222,120. The average ticket price for the 2018-19 season was $145.60.
Other findings of today’s report:
- Of theatergoers age 25 or older, 81% had completed college and 41% had earned a graduate degree;
- Fifty-nine percent of attendees purchased their tickets online;
- The average Broadway theatergoer attended a show 4.4 times during the year, with the group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprising 5% of the audience. Those die-hards accounted for 4.15 million admissions, about 28% of all tickets;
- Playgoers were more frequent theatergoers than musical attendees. The typical straight-play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four;
- Google was the most common initial source theatergoers named when they were asked where they looked for information about Broadway shows. Ticketmaster and Broadway.com followed;
- Twenty-two percent said that they relied primarily on word-of-mouth from people they knew in making their decisions, and most theatergoers attended in pairs or small groups of family or friends. The majority of theatergoers reported some connection to theatergoing as children.
The analysis is based on survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2018–2019 Broadway season.
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