×

Broadway slips with foreigners

Demographic report details 2010-11 season

The recent boom in Gotham tourism prompted a related spike in Broadway ticket sales to domestic tourists, according to a recent demographic report on the 2010-11 season from the Broadway League. But even though international tourism numbers were up for the city overall, Rialto sales to foreigners logged an unexpected decline.

The discrepancy was one of the few surprises in the report, which found that, as in prior years, the average Main Stem theatergoer was white, wealthy, well educated and female. Last season, in fact, the Broadway showgoer was whiter than ever: Caucasians accounted for more than 82% of the season’s 12.5 million theatergoers vs. 76% of the 11.9 million attendees in 2009-10.

The average age downticked from 45 to 44, although the change is likely too minor to prove terribly encouraging to those in the biz who worry about the graying of legit auds.

It’s not clear what caused the 10% decline in tickets sales to international tourists, who last season shelled out for 1.77 million ducats vs. 1.96 million the season prior. (By contrast, sales to domestic visitors rose by about 10%, from around 5.5 million in 2009-10 to almost 6 million last season.)

One contributing factor may have been the season’s lineup of shows, with last season noted for its preponderance of new musical offerings. In most cases, it’s older shows — which have had time to cultivate a global profile — that pull in foreigners.

Besides, the new titles likely to prove the biggest draws to international crowds — “The Book of Mormon” with its “South Park” ties, Daniel Radcliffe starrer “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and movie adaptations “Sister Act” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” for instance — all bowed toward the end of the season, which did see a rise in ticket sales to foreigners, according to a quarterly breakdown.Meanwhile, word of mouth remains the top influence on purchasing decisions, although for plays, which usually bring in an older, more traditional audience, reviews still hold a bit more sway than personal recommendations. For musicals, the top deciding factors were word of mouth and favorable knowledge of a musical’s score.

The reported influence of advertisement in general continued to decline, with TV and the Internet repping the most-cited outlets for ads that turned auds’ heads. Broadway.com, a website owned by the same group that runs Rialto producer and presenter Broadway Across America, was the top source of info.

The percentage of tickets bought more than a month in advance stayed steady at around 35%, but the ratio of ducats purchased one to four weeks prior to a show rose to 28% (vs. 22% the previous season). Trend is likely a relief to Main Stem producers, for whom advance sales have long provided a useful barometer of a production’s long-term B.O. outlook.

Stats from the League’s report were compiled from about 5,750 returned surveys that were initially distributed to theatergoers at 27 productions at some 78 individual perfs. “Mormon,” “How to Succeed,” “Catch Me If You Can” “Jerusalem” and “The Phantom of the Opera” were among the shows where surveys were handed out.

More Legit

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

  • Warner Music Group Logo

    Warner Music Acquires Musical Theater Indie First Night Records

    Warner Music Group has acquired First Night Record, an independent record label for West End and Broadway musical theatre cast recordings. The company will be overseen by WMG’s Arts Music Division, led by President Kevin Gore. First Night co-founder John Craig will join the Arts Music team under a multi-year consulting agreement to identify and record musical theatre productions in [...]

  • Broadway

    Broadway Back In Biz After Power Outage Ends

    The bright lights of Broadway were back on Sunday morning as midtown Manhattan recovered from a power outage that lasted nearly seven hours in some areas. Social media was full of examples of how New Yorkers rose to the occasion after the power went out on a hot Saturday night shortly before 7 p.m. ET. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content