Where do Broadway theatregoers come from? Why are they at a particular show? How much money do they make?
Those are just some of the questions the League Of American Theatres & Producers is trying to answer with a major, long-term survey to track "audience demographics and behavior." The organization hopes to implement the survey nationally by December.
What did the most recent survey show?
Well, 67 percent of Broadway theatregoers are over age 35, 26 percent of the audience hails from New York City, 34.7 percent from the suburbs, thus making 61 percent of the total audience from the metropolitan area.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed said that easier ticket accessibility and a 1-800 reservation number would encourage them to attend Broadway more often. Forty percent cite "personal recommendation" as their reason for seeing a show, with only 9 percent saying their tickets were industry or corporate comps. With top tickets running $60-$75, it's no surprise that 74 percent of the audience reports an annual income of more than $50,000.
"The survey confirms that we are headed in the right direction," said Bernstein, pointing out the League's mission to bring younger people back to Broadway with such initiatives as a Broadway For Kids Club, Kids Night On Broadway, and the Broadway Line telephone service of theatre information. Jed Bernstein, the League's executive director, sees the research as a valuable marketing tool: "The research provides League members with an instant snapshot of today's Broadway audience." Research International, a custom market-research agency, is conducting the study on a quarter-to quarter and year-to-year basis. Three musicals and three non-musicals are chosen each quarter for participation. Questionnaires are attached to random seats for three performances per show, each on different days and times. The return rate for the autumn quarter was 53 percent (out of 1,439 questionnaires distributed).
--By David Lefkowitz