How does Broadway play to American audiences? According to a demographic report on theater audiences by The League of American Theatres and Producers, there was 2.4 percent growth in attendance among domestic audiences in 2006-07, which translated to an estimated 6.1 million homegrown theatergoers. That was almost double the 1998-99 figures. A whopping 49.7 percent of Broadway audiences were from other states in the U.S. outside of the Tri-State area (New York, Connecticut and New Jersey).
The study also said the average age of overall theatergoers was 41.2 years, and that he or she preferred weekend performances to evening shows by a large margin. About 94 percent chose to attend musicals.
A record 1.42 million of those 6.1 million Broadway theatergoers were between the ages of 18 and six; most theaters do not allow admission to children under age six. This may be a reflection of the increased number of family shows offered. The average age of Americans attending plays (as opposed to musicals) was 52 years, and the better educated, the more likely they would attend a play: 48 percent were graduate degree holders compared with 33 percent of the audience attending musicals.
Broadway audiences also have become more diverse; 26 percent of ticket holders for 2006-07 were non-Caucasian, the highest in the history of Broadway. Females make up the largest portion of the audience, 64 percent.
Indeed, a staggering 75 percent of all theatergoers over the age of 25, including Americans, report having a college education and 35 percent finished graduate school. Compare that figure to the U.S. population alone where just 28 percent hold a college degree. Less than 8 percent of all theatergoers had no more than a high school education.
Financially, the average American theatergoer’s annual household income averaged $98,900 (a $3,200 drop from the previous season). Significantly, the League reports that theatergoers paid about $9 above the face value of their tickets, reflecting service charges and possibly broker fees.
Last Updated on February 14, 2008 by By Carol-Ann Rudy