Somethings Are Down, But Overall Broadway Is Looking Up

Broadway Producer Ken Davenport posted last week about The Broadway League’s attendance report for the 2022-2023 season.  The 2022-2023 season was the first period in which a full season of shows was able to run so being able to compare it against the 2018-2019 benchmark season is valuable. Overall, the numbers are pretty good. Compared with the record breaking 2018-2019 season, however, things are still down.

There were  12.3 million admissions in 2022-2023 compared with 14.8 million in 2018-2019. Attendance by NYC audiences is up percentage-wise, but there is a corresponding decrease in attendance by people living in the surrounding suburbs. Similarly, international attendance is down, though attendance by Canadian and European visitors was up.

On the positive side, the average age of attendees dropped to 40.4 years, the lowest it has been in about twenty years. Though the report acknowledges that this is partially attributable to the fact that attendance by those 65+ dropped significantly.

One area where things are up without a drop in a corresponding demographic was audience diversity. Broadway League President Charlotte Martin attributed that to outreach efforts, but largely to the increase in productions written/created and performed by casts that were diverse in terms of race and gender identity. Essentially, people are seeing themselves and their stories on stage.

One stat of interest to readers may be that the ticket purchase window has decreased from 47 days in 2018-2019 to 34 days. While this may be a concern to many theater operators who bite their nails as performance dates approach and tickets haven’t sold to the level of expectation, Davenport says this situation is great for those who use variable pricing because it means per ticket revenue will be higher due to people waiting (my emphasis):

Not good, but not surprising.  After every major “event” – from 9/11 to the 2008 financial crisis – the buying window shortens.  People don’t want to take the risk, because they wonder if it’ll happen.  Also, just about every show has tickets (especially since variable pricing was incorporated – shows don’t WANT to sell out too far in advance anymore for fear of leaving money on the table!)  What we need is a megahit and everyone’s windows will lengthen again.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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