Industry Pro Newsletter: Gen Z is 'Broadway Curious', New Zealanders Continue Strong Arts Engagement

Cara Joy David takes a look at what felt like a particularly crowded April on Broadway

By: Apr. 29, 2024
Industry Pro Newsletter: Gen Z is 'Broadway Curious', New Zealanders Continue Strong Arts Engagement
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Reports from both New Zealand and the United States show that not only is participation in the arts not waning, there is a large population that holds an interest in engaging with the arts on a deeper level. With one report saying that both Gen Z and Millenials are ‘Broadway curious’, the question emerges of how best to reach these audiences with the right information and prices that can turn them from being curious to being regular attendees.

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Industry Trends

Survey Reports Gen Z and Millennial Audiences Are 'Broadway Curious'

A survey reveals that Gen Z and Millennial audiences show interest in Broadway, termed as 'Broadway curious.' The findings highlight a potential shift in theatergoer demographics and preferences. Key factors driving interest include diverse storytelling, accessibility, and digital engagement. The survey underscores the importance of adapting marketing strategies and production offerings to cater to evolving audience interests.

Cultural Data: National Trends 2024: Funding Sources

The report examines funding sources for cultural organizations, shedding light on financial trends in the arts sector. It explores diverse revenue streams, including government grants, earned income, and philanthropic support.While earned revenue is on the bounce-back, it has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, as further government support from the pandemic declines.

Broadway/New York

Industry Trends Weekly: Breaking Down This Season's April Crush by Cara Joy David

We are officially done with the Broadway season. And, this season, there have been a lot of complaints about the spring crush.

Almost every year you hear these complaints—this year they seemed louder. But was it worse than normal? Counting Cabaret only once despite its two gala openings, there were fourteen openings in the month of April, which is not at all a record breaker. There were more openings in April 2022 and April 2013, for example. There were also exactly fourteen openings in April in three other seasons since 2010. However, there was something that made this year different from all other years. That is the number of openings very close to the eligibility deadline. Thanks to three different days with two openings per day, there were nine openings within five days of the eligibility deadline. That is abnormally high.

For those who don’t know, the Broadway League keeps the opening night calendar. In theory, that is partially supposed to be so things don’t open on the same day. Ask anyone at the League and the official line is that they don’t have the power to control when the producers open shows, but they try to manage for the betterment of the industry. This management has failed in the past—and in prior years two things have certainly opened on the same day. But, at least in this century, it’s never happened three times in April.

Now, the simple narrative has always been the April crush is about winning the big Tony Awards. Insiders often relay this as: “Nine beat Dreamgirls!” That’s why you’ll see people who argue against opening in April posting about all the Tony winners that opened early in the season. Hamilton! Kimberly Akimbo! But it’s more complicated than this narrative.

In an ever-dicey consumer market, it is even more difficult to survive through harsh winter months. Tony nominations can increase respectability and exposure. They can help goose the grosses. Think about the grosses of Shucked before the Tony nominations and after them.

That’s another key issue—while many think winning the big awards is the only thing that truly sells tickets, there is a feeling that the more nominations you can put on an ad, the better. And no matter how many stats you can cite, there is always going to be a belief that borderline elements have a better shot at being nominated if nominators see the show closer to nominations. Spring is also adjacent to the tourism boom of summer, which is another benefit.

But are there negatives to opening all at once in the spring? Critics would say their reviews aren’t as well thought out, but I’d chalk that damage up as negligible. The real press damage is that mainstream outlets only cover so much Broadway; it is tough for press agents to get those big breaks for their shows. During a time when over a dozen shows are opening, it’s even harder, because there simply isn’t an appetite in major outlets for a ton of theater coverage.

Then there is the direct impact at the box office. Some theatergoers only go to Broadway to see a specific show or else they wouldn’t be attending. I had them around me at The Wiz; I know first-time theatergoers who went to The Outsiders. (Other shows, especially those with brand names or stars, get them.) However, some theatergoers simply want to see a Broadway show. For them, having so many to choose from is great, but for producers, not so much. The more shows these people are spread between, the worse for producers.

Now, you can argue that, ideally, all the shows that opened in the summer/fall would still be open in the spring, and therefore there would be just as many choices. Even in that dream world, it would be different, because some shows would have had time to establish word-of-mouth and a brand; we’d have some differentiation rather than a deluge.

There are other pros and cons to a spring opening, but this gives you an idea of some of them. My Tony preview piece, where I talk rulings and other wonky topics, will be up later today.

Actors' Equity Association Sets Deadline for Development Agreement

Actors' Equity Association announced their intention to stop issuing Development Agreement contracts on June 17. The deadline underscores the urgency of resolving key issues to ensure fair working conditions for actors. The agreement originally expired on February 11 of this year. Negotiations have been ongoing since January.

'DEAD OUTLAW’, ‘STEREOPHONIC' & More Lead in Nominations for 2024 Outer Critics Circle Awards

'DEAD OUTLAW’, ‘STEREOPHONIC' and other productions receive top nominations for the 2024 Outer Critics Circle Awards. The nominations reflect outstanding achievements in the Broadway and Off-Broadway theater landscape.


American Theatre: Kate Bergstrom Named St. Louis Rep's Next Artistic Director

Kate Bergstrom is appointed as the next artistic director of St. Louis Repertory Theater. With a background in directing and artistic leadership, Bergstrom brings fresh vision and expertise to the role. Her appointment signals a new chapter for St. Louis Rep as it continues to enrich the cultural fabric of the region. Bergstrom's artistic direction aims to foster creativity, diversity, and community engagement in theatrical productions.

American Theatre: Erica Ezold Named Quintessence Theatre Executive Director

Erica Ezold assumes the role of executive director at Quintessence Theatre. With a wealth of experience in arts administration, most recently as the Managing Director of People’s Light, Ezold is poised to lead Quintessence in strategic planning and organizational development. Her appointment reflects the theatre's commitment to innovation and sustainability in the performing arts sector. Ezold's leadership is expected to drive growth and artistic excellence at Quintessence Theatre.


The Big Idea: New Zealander’s Relationship with the Arts Revealed

A report unveils insights into New Zealanders' relationship with the arts, offering valuable data for policymakers and cultural organizations. Findings highlight the role of arts in fostering social cohesion and individual well-being. The report underscores the need for continued support and investment in the arts to nurture creativity and cultural identity. Understanding the public's attitudes and behaviors towards the arts is crucial for shaping policies and initiatives that promote cultural participation and enrichment.

Missed our last few newsletters?

April 22, 2024 - Disneyland Parade and Character Performers Seek Union Protections
Charleston Stage has a new Managing Director, and Dallas Theater Center has a new interim Artistic Director. Along with these movements of the regional leadership carousel, Seattle Opera has introduced a new Artistic Ambassador, a role designed to help bridge the gap between the stage and the community, and foster new audiences for an art form that is often seen as having a high barrier to entry.

April 15, 2024 - Concord Theatricals' Catalog Now On Stage Mag
As news of additional cuts comes from more councils in the UK, in the US, a new piece of legislation looks to support the still struggling live entertainment industry as it emerges into the new normal. As further evidence of the need for such action, we’ve got stories about layoffs at a New Jersey NPR station, as well as another urgest fundraising plea, this one in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 8, 2024 - New Study Looks to the Preparedness of Arts Orgs to Face Future Challenges

In a sign of an industry on the rebound, Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles is getting ready to announce a return of programming at the Mark Taper Forum, where production was paused last year while the organization went through a budget crunch. Additionally, following the casting of a Black actress in the role of Juliet, an upcoming West End production of Romeo and Juliet from the Jamie Lloyd Company started dealing with racist backlash online - we’ll show you how the company responded.

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