6/4: Bad News for Broadway?

The neon lights may be bright on Broadway, but are those glittering marquees attracting a local crowd?  Broadway producers need to convince a majority of New York City residents — 53% — that catching a show is the way to go.  That’s the proportion of city dwellers who say they have not seen a Broadway show during the last three years.  And, yes, personal finances do come into play.  Just 35% of those who earn less than $50,000 annually say they’ve taken in a show during that period while 61% of those making $50,000 or more saw at least one curtain go up recently.

Table: Gone to a Broadway Show



Stubbed by Ticket Prices…”Not Worth the Money,” Say Nearly Half of New Yorkers

New Yorkers are known for their strong opinions, and nearly three-quarters of them are sending a message to Broadway producers — tickets are not affordable for the average person.  72% of residents feel that way compared with 20% who view prices as fitting within the budget of the average person.  81% of those who have been to a Broadway show in the last three years feel the cost of admission is out of line.  Not only do New Yorkers think the average audience cannot afford tickets, a plurality believes theatergoers should get more bang for their buck.   47% of residents think the cost of a Broadway show is not a good value.   However, half of those who have who have attended a Broadway show recently think theater tickets are worth the expense.

Table: Affordability of Broadway Shows

Table: Value of Broadway Shows

Making a Lasting Impression?

71% of New York City residents say they have a favorite Broadway show.  And, New Yorkers are diverse in their theatrical tastes.  So, which shows take the top spots?  9% reflect fondly upon “the circle of life,” making Disney’s “The Lion King” their favorite Broadway production.  The “memory” of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” has 7% of the city’s population purring.  5% vividly recall “the music of the night” in another Lloyd Webber blockbuster, “The Phantom of the Opera.”  4% “dreamed a dream” while experiencing “Les Miserables,” and “oh what a night” it was for 3% of New Yorkers who call “Jersey Boys” their favorite Broadway show.

In fact, New Yorkers’ top ten shows all include musicals, making it little surprise that 57% of city residents, including 65% of those who have attended a production in the past three years, prefer to see shows with music.  Men and women, however, disagree.  65% of women prefer musicals compared with just 49% of men.

Is tried and true the best policy when it comes to Broadway shows?  Not according to the 60% of New Yorkers who say they would go see an original production over a revival.  Just 17% prefer shows resurrected from the great Broadway beyond.

Table: Favorite Broadway Show

Table: Musicals or Plays

Table: Production or Revival

Marist Poll Methodology

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Reflections on the Great White Way