Broadway Round-Up: New Productions, Attracting New Audiences and Going Green

The newsboys from Newsies demonstrate their recycling abolities. Photo courtey of Broadway Green.

February 4, 2014 - February kicks off with new productions hitting the Great White Way, an in-depth look at Broadway audiences and a green anniversary.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s years in the White House come to life at the Neil Simon Theatre with All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston. Previews begin on February 10.

The classic film about a Philadelphia boxer heads to Broadway in a big way with the new musical Rocky. Performances begin February 11 at the Winter Garden Theatre.

Mothers and Sons, Terrence McNally’s latest play, focuses on a mother coming to a new understanding about her late son when she visits his former partner. Tyne Daley stars. Previews begin at the John Golden Theatre on February 23.

Aladdin, based on the Disney animated film, brings adventure and magic for a young street urchin who finds a magic lamp and an unusual genie. Performances begin at the New Amsterdam Theatre on February 26.

In other theatre news, according to the Broadway League’s 16th annual demographics report, Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2012-2013, tourists accounted for 66% of all Broadway tickets, up from 63% in the 2011-2012 season. This season attracted the highest percentage of theatregoers age 18-24 (14% or 1.6 million admissions) in the history of this analysis. Forty-one percent of respondents said they purchased their tickets online. The use of the internet to purchase tickets has been on the rise for the past decade, with telephone sales declining accordingly. The percentage of visits to the box office has remained somewhat consistent over the past decade.

Reflecting a trend of the past few decades, 68% of the audiences were female. Playgoers also tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, three. The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending four shows in the previous 12 months. Word-of-mouth was the most influential factor in show selection.

Finally, the Broadway Green Alliance has celebrated its fifth anniversary. The alliance is an industry-wide initiative focused on enhancing Broadway’s environmental profile by adopting preferable practices and promoting awareness in the creation and presentation of Broadway shows.

Broadway theatres have replaced all their marquee and outside lighting with energy-efficient bulbs – over 10,000 bulbs – saving approximately 700 tons of carbon emissions per year; switched to more environmentally preferable cleaning products and appliances; and established recycling, water filtration and energy efficiency programs. Broadway shows now have a Green Captain at nearly all shows, bringing greener practices backstage. Taking this good environmental work to the rest of the country, the organization and its partner the Natural Resources Defense Council is now launching the NRDC Theatre Greening Advisor—an online guide to help theatres across the country implement environmentally intelligent practices. More than two years of work have gone into the creation of this unique online environmental resource for the theatre community and available at no cost to all theatre productions worldwide.

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