By Andrew Gans
05 Nov 2007
Theatregoers seem to be getting younger and more diversified, according to the latest report. The League says that the average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 41.2, while those under 18 bought 1.42 million tickets. The latter is a 23 percent increase from the previous year. Also, 26 percent of theatregoers were non-Caucasians, a 17 percent increase from the previous season and a 56 percent increase from five years ago.
The internet has also become the most popular way to purchase theatre tickets. Internet purchasing has grown by 368 percent since the 1999-2000 season. During the 2006-2007 season, only 11 percent bought via the telephone and 20 percent at the box office.
The average theatregoer, the League says, attends five shows a year. Playgoers tend to see more shows (seven) than the typical musical-theatre attendee (four shows). Theatregoers who attended 15 or more Broadway attractions comprised 6 percent of the theatregoing audience and represented 31 percent of all tickets sold.
And, it was word-of-mouth rather than the words of critics that more strongly influenced theatregoers. Forty-six percent of theatregoers said word-of-mouth got them to a particular show.
New questions on the annual survey addressed performance times and mode of transportation. Thirty-five percent of theatregoers said they would enjoy the ability to select from an array of curtain times (most would prefer earlier curtains). And, 38 percent of theatregoers said they were able to walk to the theatre, implying they lived or worked near the theatre or were staying at a nearby hotel.
In a statement, Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League, said, "As there is more of a choice for the theatregoer than ever before, it is exciting to report that we are seeing a wider audience for Broadway. Our theatregoers are both younger and more diverse than ever, and, we have more out of town guests experiencing Broadway. With our goal to make Broadway a stronger national brand, we do believe that the increased attendance from visitors to New York City reflects that these efforts are working. And a stronger national brand will not only assist the New York City Broadway audience, but all of the shows that are touring throughout the country."
Data was collected by the League's Research Department from June 2006-June 2007. Surveys were administered at 23 productions at 72 individual performance times. In total, 10,800 questionnaires were distributed and 5,109 were returned.