We ask again: Why Do Some Broadway Ticket Buyers Show Up At The Theater So Early?

Broadway Producers and Marketers are constantly wondering what makes our audiences member tick . . .and buy tick-ets.

What we often forget is that something like 40,000 of our customers walk through Times Square almost every day, steps away from our offices, and they’re just waiting for us to ask them questions.

So, from time to time, when I’ve got a question burning in my craw (what does that even mean?), that’s exactly what I do.

In this case, the question was . . . Why do some (and so many) theatergoers get to the theater so early . . . so early that they have to line up outside the theater, because the doors aren’t open yet?!  You’ve seen this phenomenon, right?  Just walk by the Majestic Theater on 44th St on a Wednesday at 1 PM, and see how many folks are in line for the 2 PM show.  I mean, that’s early!  And we don’t even have movie-like previews!

(Side note: these long lines are huge security challenges for our theaters and our city – I’ll let you think about why.)

Last winter, I sent a team of interns TO those lines to ask folks what got them to queue up so dang early, but since it was like 8 degrees out, I thought the answers might have been a bit skewed.  So, I sent a new team of interns out this summer to collect more data . . . and we aggregated the results for you here!

So, below, please see the results of our survey.

What excites me about it is the responses; the desire for audience members to take in the entire Broadway experience (which means maybe we should add “previews” or something of extra value before the show begins) as well as the FOMO answer (because it means that seeing a show is still an event – even if they don’t dress up for it anymore!).

What trends do you see in the below?  And do you get to the theater early?

Check out these numbers!

Want to see all the details of polls for winter? Check out this link!

  • David says:

    Hi Ken,
    That is an interesting survey, thanks for doing a summer section. Better to be early then late. Hate to be held in the lobby waiting to be seated and mess a sec of a show. If we all waited till 10 min before show time, Security would never get everyone in the theater and seated. We arrive 30-40 min early to be able to buy drinks and souvenirs and look over the Play Bill. Then I look around the theater at all the lighting. I do lighting Design so that is my favorite part, is to see the FOH rig before the show starts.

  • Awesome, thank you for sharing. We customarily have a some pre-show activities for the early arrivals (vendors, live music and food). In fact, we encourage our audiences to arrive before time. Keep in mind, our is community theater and they sometimes have an opportunity to see some of the pre-production. Some of our older audience members customarily arrive early as part of their night out.

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