Prepared for Playbill On-Line by the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The League of American Theatres and Producers has been crunching numbers this spring. We've come out with two new studies focusing on Broadway theatre. One is a demographic profile of the Broadway audience. Produced in conjunction with Research International, it's a kind of paint-by-the-numbers portrait of who goes to the theatre in New York (our thanks to all audience members who took the time to fill out questionnaires!). The second is a report on how Broadway contributes to New York City's economy. Here are some of our latest Broadway statistics.
Ever wonder how many people see Broadway shows each year? Hint: it's more people than attend all of New York's professional sports teams' home games combined. Attendance on Broadway has grown from 7.3 million in the 1990-91 season to 10.6 million in 1996-97, an increase of 45 percent.
As New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is fond of pointing out, Broadway is New York City's number one tourist attraction. We calculate that of the 4.9 million visitors to New York who saw a Broadway show last season, 1.7 million would say that Broadway was the main reason for their trip.
Broadway was responsible for pumping more than $2.7 billion into the city's economy last year. That translated into job creation, increased tax revenues, and ancillary economic activity in restaurants, hotels, parking, and other businesses.
Outside the Big Apple, touring Broadway shows really get around. There are currently 3 U.S. tours of The Phantom of the Opera, and 2 each of Chicago and Rent. The current Cats tour has traveled more than 2.3 million miles in 10 years. Collectively, touring Broadway shows visit an average of 147 cities across the U.S. and Canada each year.
Has the Broadway audience seemed younger lately? That's because approximately 1.1 million theatregoers under the age of 18 attended a Broadway play last season, a figure that's doubled over the last decade. Broadway theatres in 26 cities across the country celebrated "Kids' Night on Broadway" (co-produced by the League and Theatre Development Fund) this year, and almost 30,000 tickets were sold in New York.
"I really love Broadway," said one young fan on Kids' Night. "I hope every kid will get to see a show. You learn a lot, and it's fun!"
"By helping more young people than ever come to Broadway, we're making an investment in our future," says Jed Bernstein, the League's Executive Director. "Adults are much more likely to come back to the theatre if they remember the magic of seeing a Broadway show when they were kids."
THE BROADWAY LINE
For information on Broadway shows theatre locations, plot summaries, show times, a direct connection to ticketing services, and more there's now one number to call. Since its debut in December, more than 45,000 theatregoers have dialed into The Broadway Line, Broadway's new toll-free interactive information hotline. Your direct connection to Broadway is only one phone call away. Call The Broadway Line at 1 (888)-411-BWAY. In the New York City area dial (212) 302-4111.
-- By Ben Pesne