Broadway fans grow more diverse

Audiences skewing younger, less wealthy

Broadway auds got a bit younger, a bit more diverse and slightly less rich during the 2006-07 season — all good things indicating that the Rialto is becoming somewhat less the exclusive domain of rich white folks.

Average age went down 2% to 41.2 years, while nonwhite theatergoers accounted for 3.18 million tickets (of the total 12.3 million sold that season), up 13% from the prior season. Average household income went down $3,200 to $98,900.

The reduced age can be attributed to the profusion of family-friendly fare on Broadway in recent years, ranging from Disney offerings to teen draws such as “Rent,” “Wicked” and “Spring Awakening.” The season saw a record 1.42 million admissions from under-18 theatergoers — up 23% — while admissions for adults 18-24 grew 9% to 1.29 million.

Meanwhile, over the past two years, “The Color Purple” has had unprecedented success drawing black auds and was a factor in the boost in minority theatergoers. (Later this season, Upper Manhattan-set tuner “In the Heights” could prove similarly effective in attracting Latino auds.)

The league report suggests that the lowered household income could be a counterintuitive mark of a healthy economy and of increased consumer confidence since economic downturns have seemed to prompt only the very wealthy to spring for Rialto tickets.

As usual, a boffo tourism market in Gotham funneled a chunk of change toward Broadway, with non-New Yorkers accounting for 65% of tickets sold. International visitors generated a record 1.9 million admissions.

Theatergoers continue to be predominantly female (64%), and women remain the major decisionmakers when it comes to ticket buying. The prevalence of Internet sales continued apace and, extending a trend that began on 9/11, purchasers continued to buy tickets closer to the date of the show than prior to 2001. Last season, 27% bought ducats the day of the show.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Legit News from Variety