Broadway Sees Benefits of Building Black Audience

Jul 6, 2010

Broadway Sees Benefits of Building Black Audiences
The New York Times - June 27, 2010

While Memphis' producers estimate that 25-30% of their audience is black, the producers of Fela! and Race say that their outreach has resulted in black theatergoers' making up 40% of attendees.  Fences and its star, Denzel Washington, are also drawing large numbers of black people, though the show began selling out early and has been a tough ticket to obtain. 

Broadway shows about black characters often draw black theatergoers, but the producers of Memphis and Fela! as well as producers of some coming shows are particularly going after African-Americans, given that Broadway's overall attendance has been on the decline, down 3 percent for the 2009-10 season.  Whether black theatergoers become a larger, reliable part of the Broadway audience remains to be seen, as do the range and quality of the shows that are offered to appeal to them. 

Yet producers clearly sense a market that has not been tapped out: This fall's Broadway lineup already includes two new musicals about black men, Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical and The Scottsboro Boys, and possibly the new two-character play The Mountaintop, about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., depending on whether the producers can land the stars Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry.

Tags: Broadway, diversity strategies, focus group, integrate, musical, outreach, R & B, theater

Sub Categories

DIVERSITY: African American / Black Community
DIVERSITY: Marketing
DIVERSITY: Education
DIVERSITY: Audience Development