Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What the other half buys

The new stats are out: last year, 65% of the people who bought Broadway tickets were tourists. This percentage has been on a steady rise over the past few years, and I'm not sure how far it can go: 90%? 99%, with the remaining holdovers the local critics who show up on press nights? Speaking of critics, these numbers seem to make them increasingly irrelevant: alas, I don't think Ben Brantley or TONY's own crack team (David Cote, Adam Feldman and Helen Shaw) are morning-commute reads in Des Moines, Tokyo or Paris.

I was a Broadway-going tourist myself once, so I have mixed feelings about it all. I think I saw Cats on a visit in 1986 or 87, and I sure was happy there was a show I could enjoy with my shaky English. Visiting New York and going to a musical go hand in hand. There are more and more tourists in New York, so naturally there are more and more tickets sold to tourists. But does it mean New Yorkers don't go to Broadway anymore? I can't say I blame them, with the prices and shows on offer. Does it mean the locals go to more Off or Off-Off shows to satiate their theater cravings? Questions, questions…

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