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Broadway audiences are getting a little bit younger and more diverse

The exterior of the Palace Theatre, in the middle of Manhattan's Times Square, in 2009.
Neilson Barnard
Getty Images
The exterior of the Palace Theatre, in the middle of Manhattan's Times Square, in 2009.

Mixed news from Broadway: One of New York City's main tourist draws is still crawling out of its pandemic-era hole, but audiences are getting a bit younger and more diverse.

The numbers came Monday afternoon from The Broadway League, a trade organization representing theater producers and owners. It released the highlights of its newest demographic report, collected during the 2022-23 season — the first full season since Broadway shut down in March 2020.

The League reported that this season included 12.3 million admissions to Broadway shows — which is still almost 17% lower than the record-breaking, pre-COVID 2018-19 season.

According to the League, tourists still form the biggest audience for Broadway shows by far: only about 35% of show attendees during the 2022-23 season were from the city itself or the surrounding metropolitan area, while 17% came from foreign countries.

The report says that the average age of the Broadway theatergoer is 40.4 years old — the youngest demographic the League has seen in 20 seasons, but only 0.2% younger than in 2018 — and 65%, are female. Meanwhile, 29% of attendees self-identified as people of color, the highest percentage the League has had in its history of these reports. In 2018, that number was 25%.

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Anastasia Tsioulcas
Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.