Monday, December 15, 2008

The *Hairspray* effect

More people are attending musicals.
That's one of the conclusions of today's NEA report on the state of nonprofit theaters.
In the last 16 years, attendance at musicals has increased from 32 million to 37 million.
The audience for non-musical ("straight") plays, however, has declined (also since 1992) from 25 million to 21 million.

This, despite the fact that the number of nonprofit theaters has doubled in that same time.
The conclusion, at least as far as non-musicals go, according to the report? Too many theaters and not enough demand.

*Moulin Rouge,* *Hairspray,* *Mamma Mia!* and the *High School Musical* shows have reinvigorated the audience for musicals, especially among the under-30 crowd ... is that a possible explanation?

Bobo has an e-mail out to an NEA spokeswoman requesting some more detail and interpretation.

But the survey doesn't account for the economic downturn since 2005, says the Washington Post.

{photo: the outgoing chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts}

1 comment:

  1. The U.S. Census Bureau, it turns out, got questionnaires (asking about arts participation) back from nearly 13,000 people in 1992. Give or take 5 percent, 25 million people attended a non-school, non-musical play that year. Each one went an average of 2.4 times, yielding about 60 million paid admissions to straight plays in that one year.
    In that year, 13.5 percent of American adults attended a non-musical play at least once.
    But since 1992, those numbers have gone down.