Entertainment & Arts

Attendance for Broadway touring shows continues to dip

Billy Elliot
Actor Ty Forhan in a scene from the touring production of “Billy Elliot: The Musical” that appeared at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in 2012.
(Kyle Froman)

Attendance at touring Broadway shows nationwide dropped for the second straight season, according to a newly released report from the Broadway League. The report said that 12.7 million people attended a touring show in the 2011-12 season, down from 13.1 million the previous season.

The attendance for touring shows is the lowest since the 2003-04 season. In the last 10 years, attendance peaked at 15.9 million in 2009-10.  The report did not provide reasons for the decline.

Touring shows -- which travel to what some New Yorkers disparagingly refer to as “the provinces” -- are important sources of revenue for theater producers and regional companies. In Southern California, the main venues for these traveling productions are the Pantages Theatre, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

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Among the high-profile shows touring during the 2011-12 season were “Bring it On: The Musical,” “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” “Wicked” and “Les Miserables.”

For the same season, attendance for Broadway shows in New York was 12.3 million people, according to the Broadway League. 

The report, which was released Monday, said the average age of theatergoers for a touring show was 50.5 years and that 89% of audiences were Caucasian. It said that close to 70% of audiences were female.

The Broadway League is one of the organizations behind the annual Tony Awards ceremony. (The other organization is the American Theatre Wing.)  This year’s Tony Awards will be held June 9 and will be broadcast on CBS.



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