Survey Says: People who like plays attend theatre more often than those who like musicals

"The fabulous invalid" as they have been calling Broadway for decades,  is still very  much alive and kicking.

“The fabulous invalid” as they have been calling Broadway for decades, is still very much alive and kicking.

The Broadway League Reveals some interesting facts in its study, “The Demographics of the Broadway Audience” for the 2011-2012 Season .


  • 18.4% of tickets were purchased by foreign tourists
  • 47% of respondents said they bought their tickets online
  • Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees

The Study

The Broadway League’s 15th annual demographics report, The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2011-2012, compares current theatergoing habits to previous seasons in predicting trends for the future.

The analysis is based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2011-2012 Broadway season in New York City. It includes highlights on the demographics of the audience and their ticket purchasing habits. The report is part of an ongoing series that profiles Broadway theatergoers each season.

Discount Tickets Key to Attendance especially by Residents

Of note, the newest study reveals that tourists accounted for 63.4% of all Broadway tickets, up from 61.7% in the 2010-2011 season. Overall, international tourists accounted for 18.4% of all admissions to Broadway shows in New York City. While the report does not focus on the locals, this indicates that attendance by those who live in New York City is actually declining. But this is not as tragic as it might seem, since it is likely the booming off-Broadway and off-off Broadway scene is keeping a lot of them entertained. They certainly are more affordable and do not have confusing prices that run into hundreds of dollars per ticket. The breakdown between full price and discounted tickets was not specified, though discounts on less than sold-out shows are quite common and available through TKTS run by the Theatre Development Fund and various other middle-men, like Goldstar, of which Berkshire On Stage is an affiliate, offering various specially priced tickets to readers during the year. (These money saving offers are available for most major US cities, not just Boston and New York, so why not Sign in Here)

“This was our strongest 52-week season in history in terms of attendance and grosses with over 12.3 million admissions,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League. “We are pleased to see growth in international market, as New York City continues to show strong tourism numbers. As well, the 2011 – 2012 season saw an increase in the diversity of our audience. Word of mouth continues to be the greatest influence for show selection, with a notable uptick in the power of social networking posts.”

The report also shows that the use of the Internet for the purchase of tickets has increased from 44% to 47%. Online purchase continues to be the most popular method of ticket buying.

Reflecting a trend of the past few decades, 67% of the audiences were female.

Playgoers also tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees . The typical playgoer saw six shows in the past year, compared with four for the musical attendee. Those who saw fifteen or more shows comprised 5% of the audience, but represented 29% of all admissions (3.6 million admissions).

The Demographics of the Broadway Audience is published annually by The Broadway League, the clearinghouse for information on the business, demographics and economic impact of Broadway theatre throughout North America. The League compiles various statistics and publishes extensive reports on a number of topics. The Broadway League thanks Theatre Development Fund for its generous support in co-funding this ongoing research project.

About the Methodology

From June 2011 through June 2012, the League’s Research Department administered surveys at 31 different productions at 81 individual performance times. Shows were selected on a quarterly basis to represent what Broadway was offering that season (i.e., a proportionate number of musicals versus straight plays; revivals versus original works; and new productions versus long-running shows). Questionnaires were distributed at multiple performances per show to account for variances in the weekday, weekend, evening and matinee audiences. Completed questionnaires were tabulated and weighted based upon the actual paid attendance for each show. In total, 16,175questionnaires were distributed and 9,903 were returned, representing a 61% rate of return.

About The Broadway League 

The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. For more information,, or follow

Broadway theatres are filled with an exciting array of new and classic musicals and plays, providing the perfect experience for every audience. Great seats are available at every price point and are easy to buy online, by phone, or in person at theatre box offices. It’s always the perfect time to see a show. Broadway performs every day of the week at multiple curtain times to accommodate every schedule.

The Broadway League annually presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards,® one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry, with The American Theatre Wing.

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