Sophisticated Tweens Love Broadway Theater

Preteen Girls

Many Broadway producers these days are counting on sophisticated tweens to help add to profit at Broadway Theaters. A profitable niche has been uncovered while appealing to the taste of preteens, that helps to jump start sales at the box office.

These savvy young consumers come with their parents from all over the country to visit Broadway. There has been a steady growth of this market over the past 25 years and it has not gone unnoticed by those marketing Broadway theater.

Tweens are defined as kids in the 8 to 12 year age group. Those between middle childhood and adolesence. A word blend of teen and between.

The theory is that if tweens favor a show, they will persuade their parents to spend money on theater tickets for that show. Additionally, Broadway cast recordings are downloaded by both teens and preteens on "iTunes" and it has become an "in" thing across the country to attend theater on family vacations. There is an enormous amount of profit to be made from these activities.

Theater critics, on the other hand, have not been altogether thrilled with the "bubble gum" musicals that have been produced as a result, and neither have many of the parents. Thus, the challenge has been to produce a musical that will appeal to the young crowd but still have enough substance to please the adult theater audience.

One such Broadway musical that pleases tweens and adults, is the play "Wicked". Although is was not meant to be a preteen show, it has been drawing on that demographic from the beginning, and has developed almost a "cult" following. The great thing is that it pleases adults as well, with many adults not complaining about seeing it more than once. Broadway producers dream of finding additional musicals that please both tweens and adults. They know they will have another mega hit on their hands when they do.

"Legally Blonde", on the other hand, has a loyal following among the young teen crowd but has not been as big a hit with the adult crowd. A Broadway musical, derived from the film by the same name which was wildly popular with the young set, the show was aired on MTV in the fall of 2007. This proved to be a wise decision, as more young people became aware of its existence. This resulted in a surge of interest among that population, and has registered well at the box office.

Advertisements for other musicals geared towards the preteen crowd have helped to boost sales at the box office for Broadway shows the likes of "Hairspray" and "The Pirate Queen".

The Broadway musicals "Xanadu", which is performed on roller skates, and "Grease", for which America chose the leads on television ala "American Idol" style have positioned themselves to also appeal to the increasing tween love of theater. "Mamma Mia" and "Jersey Boys" also appeal to the younger set, despite the fact that there may be some material that is unsuitable for those under 12 years of age. Ultimately, it is left up to the parents to decide.

A new musical which opened in March 2008, "In The Heights", about three days in the lives of people living in a Latino neighborhood on the northern end of Manhattan, appeals to the kids of today with its lively music and energy. It has some subtle references to adult subjects, but generally is suitable for kids and again, must be viewed at the discretion of their parents.

Many new musicals are now in development and/or are soon to open which court the tween love of Broadway. Among these are a musical rendition of the movie "Clueless". Also, in development is the musical "13' about a girl in Indiana who has moved from New York and another musical entitled "Princesses".

It is evident that Broadway's reaching out to the young theatergoer is a trend that is here to stay. Theater is evolving to please the younger set and it will be interesting to see what new experiences will be available to us all as a result.

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