Who’s Keeping Broadway in Business? Wealthy Foreigners with PhDs

12/11/2009 4:47 PM |


Most people decide which Broadway musical to see based on word of mouth. But how do people choose what plays to see? They listen to critics! Suddenly Vincent Price’s outrage/rampage in Theater of Blood makes total sense.

This was one of the many findings of “The Demographics of the Broadway Audience,” a report of the 2008-2009 season that The Broadway League released yesterday. I’m really busy today (Christmas party), so I haven’t read the full report. But the press release included lots of fun facts! Which you can read about after the jump.

Who’s Going?
– 21 percent of the season’s 12.2 million “admissions” were international visitors; 63 percent were tourists
– the average theatergoer is just over 42 years old (up from last season, slightly)
– 25-34 year-olds accounted for 16 percent of the audience—the highest it has been since 1999-2000!
– people who go to Broadway are educated and rich, with an average income of almost $200,000; almost three in four have at least a college degree; more than a third have advanced degrees.

…And How?
– 40 percent of Broadway tickets are sold on-line, a 471 percent increase since the 1999-2000 season
– people who see plays see twice as many shows as people who see musicals (eight shows a year versus four)
– 5 percent of the audience sees 15 shows or more; those hardcore theatergoers account for nearly a third of all tickets sold

So, who’s keeping Broadway alive? Rich and middle-aged international tourists with advanced degrees who buy tickets on-line for the 15 plays they see every year.