The number of theater attendees under the age of 18 reached a record high last season. (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

The Broadway League is hoping to bring a younger generation, and their parents, to Broadway shows using discounts and experiential activities.

Fifteen Broadway shows are currently participating in the League initiative, which included the launch of site on Tuesday. The League reached out to all Broadway shows and worked with those who elected to participate to shape the offerings.

However, the League is not subsidizing each show’s discounted tickets or programming.  

The League came up with the initiative as Broadway shows become more family-friendly and as they saw consumer behavior trend toward paying for experiences, rather than products, said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.

“The number of shows that are appropriate for families and kids certainly has been growing,” St. Martin said. “Certainly dramatically in the last five or six years.”

That trend appears to have been mirrored in the audiences last season, as the Broadway League demographic report on the 2016-2017 season found the largest number of under 18 year olds in attendance at select shows — though experts said it’s hard to say how statistically significant the survey numbers are. That added on to the previous year’s high of 1.45 million under 18 year olds.

From the League’s perspective, this push is aimed at increasing those numbers in order to keep Broadway audiences growing.

“We’re building our audiences of the future,” St. Martin said. “What we don’t want to become is an art form where everybody in the audience is over 60.”

And for the shows, the benefit is bringing in that new audience to potentially sell more tickets.

“It’s an audience that I invite, and it’s an audience I believe our show should include,” said Orin Wolf, lead producer of “The Band’s Visit.”

Lynne Meadow, artistic director of Manhattan Theatre Club, which is offering a promotion for “Saint Joan,” similarly sees it as a chance to “increase access” to Broadway.

The current offers included on the League’s site from discounted tickets for shows such as “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “The Band’s Visit” to pie baking classes included with a ticket to “Waitress.” St. Martin said the League plans to add more shows and keep up the program long term.

And while some have bemoaned the move on Broadway toward kid-friendly programming, St. Martin said she feels the industry needs to offer a wide range of shows, from the classic musical to comedy, to bring in new theatergoers. 

“I think what is healthy for Broadway is to have a good variety,” she said.