The demographics of the Broadway Audience 2011-12

Hot, hot, hot off the Broadway League presses . . . here comes the sexy stats about you . . . yes you . . . the people that see Broadway shows.

Every year, members of the Broadway league get a phat book all about the folks that buy tickets through the previous season.  And the smart Producers use this book to help understand how to navigate the murky marketing waters of the Great White Way.

And every year, I give you, members of the Producer’s Perspective, the Executive Summary of the report so that you can see how the Broadway audience is trending (read last year’s Executive Summary here).

Here’s what the peeps who purchased Broadway tickets last season looked like:

  •  In the 2011-2012 season, tourists purchased approximately 63.4% of all Broadway tickets, up from 61.7% in the 2010-2011 season.
  • The average Broadway-going tourist stayed 4.4 days in New York City.
  • 67% of the the audiences were female.
  • The average age of the Broadway theatergoer was 43.5 years.
  • 78% of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatergoers.
  • Broadway theatergoers were quite affluent compared to the general United States population, reporting an average annual household income of $193.800 (Note from Ken:  This is down over $50k (!) from last year – “It’s the economy, stupid!”)
  • Broadway theatergoers were a very well-educated group.  Of theatergoers over 25 years old, 75% had completed college and 38% had earned a graduate degree.
  • The use of the Internet to purchase tickets has been steadily increasing.  In this season, 47% of respondents said they bought their tickets online.
  • 34% of respondents reported having purchased their tickets more than one month prior to the show.
  • The average Broadway theatergoer reported attending 4 shows in the previous 12 months.  The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience but accounted for 29% of all tickets (3.6 million admissions).
  • Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatergoers than musical attendees.  The typical straight play attendee saw eight shows in the past year, the musical attendee, five.
  • Word-of-mouth was by far the most influential factor in show selection.
  • The most popular sources for theatre information were word-of-mouth,, and The New York Times.
  • 39% of attendees walked to the theatre. 19% took the subway, and 16% drove in a car.
  • 30% of Broadway theatergoers reported having watched the Tony Awards on television.

There she blows.

Another year down, another year of data, that doesn’t deviate that much from the norm.  Big industries are like steamships . . . it’s hard to get them to move off their course in a year.  But you and I aren’t in this biz for just a year, are we?  So if we want some stats to turn, let’s start moving that wheel, slowly but surely.  Slowly but surely.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)



–  Broadway Investing 101  Seminar coming up THIS SATURDAY, December 8th!  Register today.

– Come to my Producer’s Perspective social on 12/20!  Click here to RSVP!

–  Win two tickets to see David Mamet’s The Anarchist on Broadway!  Click here.

  • Shane says:

    You comment on average annual household income being down over $50K from last year made it sound like this was a bad thing. However, there are two ways of looking at it that are a lot more positive:

    1) A Broadway Audience member has experienced a significant drop in their income BUT they haven’t stopped going to see shows (they ranked Broadway shows ahead of other expenditures and/or saving).

    2) Broadway is doing a better job of attracting new audience members for a lower socio-economic class than the existing audience and they are dragging down the average income. Provided you’re not alienating existing theater goers, an expansion of the marketing base is a good thing (even if they’re only going to make a limited number of ticket purchases).

    As is often the case, these statistics raise more questions than they answer but I’m glad someone takes the time to put them together.

  • I agree with Sean that these statistics raise more questions than answers but am grateful that people have taken the time to put this together. Having said that, producers, cretive teams and investors need to look at a season as a whole and wonder why that 78% of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatergoers. This is an issue…who are shows marketing to? I talk about rainbow casting all the time (i.e.- Godspell being a GREAT example), and as a community we have to continue knocking down barriers and advocating for rainbow casting and see how the demographics will change and create a larger audience. Jack Lee, the legendary musical director, and I have this conversation often. Rainbow casting is not new, he tells me about a company in Ohio, which I believe was called Caravelle that was a company dedicated to Rainbow casting over 50 years ago. And every person of color does not have to be a star to be on stage (anyone ever hear of the great Arthur French? you see him all the time on tv, commercials,films and stage all the time, but many people don’t know him because even though he has a successful steady career and is highly respected in the artistic community, white audiences wouldn’t respond to his name because they only now his face ONCE they witness his brilliance). I always wanted Osage:August County to do the show with families of different ethncities (Yes, Phyllicia Rashaad was superb in her turn as matriarch and it worked beautifully) but how interesting it would have been to take the same exact script and witness how the meaning changed with an entire Asian cast, an entire Hispanic cast, an entire African American cast. In other words, the Broadway community needs to play catch up and just not focus on “race” productions. I wonder what the demographics were when there were the years of Tap Dance Kid, 5 guys named Moe, Black and Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam, etc were? I know there are more to mention and I ‘ve already taken too much space but I am passionate about rainbow casting and I believe it would increase sales, change demographics, and that is just to name a few things.

  • Garrett says:

    What I find interesting is the Avg. AGE.

    In the regional world, we assume its 50-80, are our ‘loyal’ or ‘true’ audience. Many younger staff members keep shouting to management that focus needs to be on the 30-45 crowd or at least EQUAL attention vs. Retirement Homes.

  • victor L says:

    Numbers are great but how can we bring in more….

    1. dumber audience Members
    2. Broke audience members
    3. ETHNIC audience members
    4. MEN audience members
    5. younger audience members
    6. Tony viewers inside the theater.
    7. local audience members

    that is the question

  • Clair Sedore says:

    the problem is fewer shows are touring…and most of those are repeats…how many times does one want to see Wicked, or Lion King or Les Miserables…unfortunately people seem to only want to see the “tried and true,” which for we faithful theatregoers is upsetting….would love to see Kinky Boots, or Hardbody, but doubt in they will be on our subscription lists…just had Book of Mormon here in Toronto, for six weeks only, and if you were not a subscriber you hardly had a chance…fortunately I had seen it in previews in NYC, and of course and one of the older subscribers so got to see it again…but the only really new and exciting thing on our list is “Aladdin” which is prior to Broadway…fortunately we have many smaller theatres so do get to see most things eventually, like Venus in Fur, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *