In addition to boasting that Broadway contributed over $5 billion to the New York City economy last year, the recent survey by the Broadway League (formerly the League of American Theaters & Producers) also confirmed the increasing proportion tourists and suburbanites make up of the average audience for Broadway fare:
According to the report, out-of-town audiences represent the backbone of Broadway’s economic impact. Approximately 84% of all tickets sold during the 2006-07 season were purchased by non-city residents, and 65% were bought by tourists, the largest percentage in the past two decades. Around 18% were purchased by New York suburbanites. Foreign visitors accounted for a record 15.5% of all tickets. Of the 10.3 million Broadway tickets sold to non-city residents, nearly half were sold to people who made their trip to New York specifically to see a Broadway show.
Great news for the city. And glad to know theatre still has some lure for Americans.
But when it becomes primarily a "tourist attraction" (right now the lion's share of its income) that cannot not affect the quality of this small--but most prominent--sliver of our artform.