The Broadway League recently revealed its annual demographics report about Broadway audiences. The information below comes from the League’s press release, and it’s a fascinating and important look at who is attending Broadway shows these days.
The League compared current Broadway theatregoing habits in New York City to previous seasons in hopes of predicting trends for the future. This report is the 21st publication in a longitudinal study that tracks the trends and changes of the Broadway audiences over time. During the 2017-2018 season, the average age of Broadway theatregoers was 40.6, the lowest since 2000, and for the second year in a row, there was a record total number of kids and teens under 18 attending Broadway shows. At 2.1 million, this is 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 percent or 430,000 admissions (from 710,000 to 1.14 million).
The analysis is based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2017-2018 Broadway season in New York City highlighting both audience demographics and their ticket purchasing habits. Each year brings fluctuations to the make-up of audiences due to a variety of reasons such as content, weather, the economy, and changing competition for leisure activities. Therefore, this longitudinal analysis is important to track the trends and changes of the Broadway audiences over time.
From June 2017 through May 2018, the League 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). 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 percent rate of return.
The report also found the following:
- In the 2017-2018 season, Broadway shows welcomed 13.8 million admissions.
- Approximately 38 percent of those attendances were by people from the New York City metropolitan area.
- Sixty-three percent of admissions were made by tourists: 48 percent from the United States (but outside New York City and its suburbs) and 15 percent from other countries.
- Sixty-six percent of the audiences were female.
- Of theatregoers age 25 or older, 81 percent had completed college and 41 percent had earned a graduate degree.
- The average annual household income of the Broadway theatregoer was $222,120.
- The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 5 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5.5 percent of the audience, but accounted for 31 percent of all tickets (4.3 million admissions).
- Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers 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 theatregoers 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.
In other Broadway news, the Broadway League and the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds recently honored Local 802 musicians and other Broadway artists who have served long tenures on Broadway. From among our musicians, this year’s new inductees for 25 years of service are: Junah Chung, Peter Foley, Paul Gemignani, Cynthia Hoxie and Carlo Dante Pellettier; and for 35 years of service: Ted Ackerman, Vincent Fay, Janet Lantz, Lori Miller Abbott, Robert Nowak, Laura Oatts, Mark A. Patterson, Jeff Saver, Gary Seligson, Ted Sperling, Andrew Sterman and Walter Weiskopf. Congratulations to all of these musicians – and to all musicians who bring the magic of live music to theatre! For more information, see www.BroadwaySalutes.com.