Quest: Is the theater really dead or in transition?

In 2015 the following article was written about the death of the theater (focusing on Broadway and Broadway musicals) and that question is rising once again, perhaps as part of an annual rite.

Is The Theater Really Dead?

EDITORIAL,  OnStage, October 19, 2015
 Skip Maloney

“Is the theater really dead?” – Paul Simon

When Paul Simon posed that rhetorical question in the lyrics of his song, The Dangling Conversation, in 1966, a ticket to see Mame or Cabaret (on Broadway), cost somewhere in the vicinity of $15. Today, getting a really good seat to see Kinky Boots, the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, or any of the other nominated 2013 musicals, is likely to cost you in the vicinity of $115, and only if you shop around.

The League of American Theaters and Producers notes that “the average (Broadway) theater attendee belongs to a household with more than $80,000 in annual income.” That’s $1,500 a week, roughly. A quick glance at a statistical abstract of household incomes from the US Census Bureau (by decade, from 1980 to 2007) will tell you that barely one in 10 households reach that figure. You have to wonder, too, how many of them actually in that bracket are willing to spend 10% of their weekly income on a single ticket to a Broadway show. Factoring in the baby sitters, gas to get there, the parking fees and the $10 they’ll charge you for an eye-dropper glass of wine at intermission, and it’s likely to be more than 10%. Forget bringing the family these days, unless you have money to throw around, which is becoming an increasingly difficult phenomenon to encounter, although less so, one would assume, for those $1,500 a week folk.

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