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Is a January slump inevitable or surmountable?

Charlotte St. Martin, TodayTix’s Tracy Geltman and more discuss why the start of a new year is historically tough for Broadway, what to expect for January 2024 and how shows can weather the winter months.

Times Square on Jan. 29, 2022 (Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

When a dozen shows closed on Broadway in January 2023, some media reports rang alarm bells about the industry’s state of recovery. But, as Broadway News pointed out, many productions choose to close at the start of a new year, whether their runs are limited or not. It’s also a reliably low point for ticket sales, according to seasonal grosses.

Fewer shows are closing this month, but a mid-winter decline in sales is still expected due to factors that contribute each year, including a post-holiday drop in tourism and resistance to inclement weather.

“Historically, January and February are our two most challenging months,” said Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin, adding that shows struggling at the end of the year tend to close at the top of the next. 

According to multiple insiders, a seasonal drop in business may be impossible to avoid, but understanding which audiences are still in play, and how to appeal to them, can help shows power through the storm. Reports on Broadway attendance indicate that the 2024 mid-winter slump should prove no better nor worse than previous years. There are reasons for both caution and hope.

“There’s certainly a decrease in the core audience during these months — meaning tourists, older audiences and suburbanites,” said Jeremy Kraus, managing partner of marketing agency Situation. Older suburban theatergoers tend to resist the cold by staying home or migrating south. On top of that, attendance among suburban audiences is already down overall for the 2022-2023 season, according to the Broadway League’s audience demographics report.

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