The NEA has news for all of us. Spoiler Alert: it ain’t good.

Five times over the past 25 years, the NEA and the US Census Bureau have surveyed adults in this country about their arts consumption and released the stats in what they call “the nation’s largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities.”


The latest survey came out a week ago.


I wish I could be all rainbows and puppy dogs about the results, but unfortunately, I’ve gotta poop on our parade.


Here are some hard (to swallow) facts from the report:


Since 1982 . . .
  • The number of adults attending musicals plays has dropped 10%.
  • The number of adults attending non-musicals plays has dropped 21%.
  • The median age of adults attending musicals has increased by 6 years.
  • The median age of adults attending non-musicals plays has increased by 8 years.
  • The percentage of adults ages 18-24 attending musicals has dropped 13%.
  • The percentage of adults ages 18-24 attending non-musical plays has dropped 23%.
To be honest, I didn’t see one statistic that made me smile in the entire report.


If you want to read more of the report, click here.


We’ve got our work cut for us over the next 25 years, PPers.  We’ve got our work cut out for us.


But I’m game if you are . . . 🙂
  • Game on. Bring it, socio-economics! You scare us not.

  • Tony Howell says:

    PPers? 🙂
    Don’t worry–HSM 4 will save us. 😉

  • The NEA was created to help new arts organizations get on their feet, and stand or fall on their own.
    It was never intended to be a bottomless well, from which giants like the Metropolitan Opera or MOMA–or even community theatres in the hinterlands–could continue to draw funding indefinitely.
    Personally, I’ve never liked the idea that the Neo-Nazis who hold the purse-strings could dictate to me what sort of productions I could mount, just so they would give me funding!

  • Chameleon Theatre Co., Ltd. is seeking Co-Producers for a concert version of Eric Charles McGee’s new musical, “Play the Music Softly,” which will be presented on August 31st at a Manhattan location TBA.
    If interested, please contact us at:

  • Dana says:

    What can we do to help reverse those statistics?
    Expose our children at an early age, encourage our friends to go, find exciting new plays…
    Plenty of theatres have education programs, and I’m sure they do some wonderful things, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Do they need to be revised and expanded? Do we need to get more funding for theatre and music in our public schools?
    Does anyone have ideas for what we, as individuals, do to make a difference?

  • Dana says:

    I should add, that I’m sure making theatre more affordable would help, but is that even possible?

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