June 4, 2009
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.