At the Broadway League Conference: Day 1/Kids ‘R Theatergoers Too

One of the hippest long-term audience development initiatives the Broadway League came up with over the last few years was the establishment of a Kids Advisory Board.  The Board is made up of thirty kids, ages 11 – 16, from all over the country.  What do they have in common?  They love the Broadway!

By tapping the minds of these young avid influencers, the League is able to learn the simple answers to a host of questions that could help secure the health of the Broadway theater through Generation Z (aka The Net Generation), Generation Ai, and beyond.

At the first day of the Broadway League conference, the League put six of the members of the Advisory Board on a panel and grilled them about their theater habits, their friends’ habits, and more.

Here is a bullet point list of some things that I learned from our next generation of audiences, actors, and producers:

  • The entire panel said that it was their parents who suggested which shows to see.
  • 5 of the 6 panel members said that their #1 internet destination was Facebook.  The 6th member didn’t have a Facebook page, but she did have a blog.
  • 5 of the 6 panel members did NOT visit any theater websites (e.g. Playbill.com, BroadwaySpace.com, etc.).
  • All of the panel members said their parents paid for their tickets.  One piped up and said, “That’s what they’re for.”
  • All of the panel members preferred musicals.  Half of the panel said that music was important for keeping not only their attention, but the attention of their younger siblings who couldn’t sit still for too long without the excitement of a musical.
  • One panel member was a pretty regular playgoer, but she said she didn’t start seeing plays until she was 14.
  • All of the panel watched the Tonys, but said their friends didn’t.
  • When asked what the #1 thing they enjoyed about Broadway was, a survey of these 6 plus another 700 revealed that the “performers” were the most exciting part (translation – expect more star casting in the future).
  • One of them read reviews, but none of them let the reviews influence their decision either way.  As the only boy on the panel said, “It doesn’t matter what they [the reviewers] say.  What matters is your opinion.”

There’s a lyric in Bye Bye Birdie that goes something like, “Kids!  Who can understand anything they say?”

Well, we better start trying to understand what they say, because these kids, and the thousands of others around the country just like them, are the premium ticket buyers of tomorrow.

A giant lollipop to The League for letting us listen.

Stay tuned for Day #2 from The League Conference tomorrow!

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Overheard at Angus: Volume VI.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken you all on a trip to Angus to hear what’s being gossiped over lunch or pre-theater din-din.

The last time I was having my usual burger, my dining partner and I heard this little gem of a conversation being bandied about over a couple of brandies.  Knowing (as you do) my affinity for focus groups and research, I think you’ll see why I felt I had to pass it on to all of you.

Brandy Drinker #1:  I just did a focus group for one of my shows.  Learned some great stuff.

Brandy Drinker #2:  I just did one, too.

Brandy Drinker #1:  Oh yeah?  Which company did you use to run them?

Brandy Drinker #2:  I did them myself.

Brandy Drinker #1:  You what?  How’d you do that?

Brandy Drinker #2:  Simple.  I have a 15-year-old daughter.  I took her and ten of her 15-year-old friends out to dinner.  I told them about the show that I was doing, and then I asked, “Would you stamp your feet until your parents took you to see it?”

Brandy Drinker #1:  What did they say?

Brandy Drinker #2:  They said they wouldn’t stamp their feet.

Brandy Drinker #1:  Oh.  That’s too bad.

Brandy Drinker #2:  Not really.  They said they would tell their parents that they hated them unless they got them tickets.

Brandy Drinker #1:  Next round is on you.

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