updated 11/5/2007 8:02:19 PM ET 2007-11-06T01:02:19

Out-of-towners are a big presence on Broadway — and getting bigger.

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Tourists, both domestic and foreign, accounted for some 65 percent of the 12.3 million tickets sold for Broadway shows during the 2006-2007 season, according to figures released Monday by the League of American Theatres and Producers. It was the largest percentage in the last 20 years, the League said.

"Our theatergoers are both younger and more diverse than ever, and we have more out-of-town guests experiencing Broadway," said Charlotte St. Martin, the League's executive director.

International tourists, perhaps riding the wave of the weakening American dollar, made up 16 percent of audiences, buying 1.9 million tickets, more than they did in seasons before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. What's more, foreign tourists stay longer in New York and see more shows, the League added.

And Broadway audiences are getting more diverse, too. Nonwhite theatergoers made up 26 percent of admissions during the 2006-07 season, buying some 3.18 million tickets. That's a 17 percent increase from the previous season and a 56 percent jump from five years ago, the League said.

Theatergoers are also getting a bit younger. The average age of a Broadway theatergoer was 41.2 years, slightly younger than in the past. And the number of tickets sold to those under 18 was a record 1.42 million, a 23 percent increase from the 2005-2006 season.

The Internet has played a big part in these increases, with purchases growing by 368 percent since the 1999-2000 season, according to the League. For the second year in a row, online ordering was the most popular way to buy tickets.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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