Broadway actors and actresses don’t work in the same pay range as those who work in film and television. For example, "Les Miserables" movie cast salaries are vastly different from the cast of the Broadway play of the same name, and few theater actors on Broadway can expect to have Lin Manuel Miranda’s net worth. Still, thanks to the minimum Broadway actor or actress salary, theater professionals can support themselves on what they earn, and some do quite well.
Broadway actors and actresses bring plays and musicals to life in the theater. Each show has major and minor roles available, with the most popular Broadway actors and actresses playing leads. In addition to speaking or acting roles, there are roles in the chorus where cast members sing and dance.
Cast members are dedicated to their craft and their theater productions, where they spend hours rehearsing each day. Many productions put on at least eight shows per week, so there are days when cast members have to act in more than one performance on a particular day.
Another part of a Broadway actor’s day is to meet and greet fans. After performances, they sign autographs and take pictures with people who are backstage or waiting outside to meet the performers. They might also make public appearances and perform at outside venues to promote themselves or their shows. As a result, Broadway stars don’t end their working day until well into the night.
A college degree isn’t necessary for a career on Broadway, although some aspiring performers earn a B.A in theater or related arts to hone their skills and learn the ins and outs of the industry. All aspiring actors and actors should know how to act onstage and take direction. Having additional skills such as singing and dancing is a plus.
Acting on Broadway isn’t an easy field to break into. Aspiring hopefuls must audition to see if they’re a good fit for a performance. Each performer brings headshots and resumes to auditions so the shows' producers can get an idea of their experience and range. Casting agents choose the best candidates from auditions, although seasoned actors with famous names might not have to audition at all.
Broadway Actress Salary
A Broadway actress salary depends on many different factors including the production's budget, the ability to bring in theater-goers, and where she is in her career. Typically, a well-known actress receives a higher salary than a lesser known actor.
Actor’s Equity, a union for theater professionals, reports that the minimum Broadway actors' salary is $2,034 per week. However, that figure is a base, and actors can earn more depending on the demands of the show they’re in and name recognition.
If performers are expected to move props, sing or dance during their performances, they earn more as each duty adds to the Broadway actor's base salary. A swing actor who understudies for several roles in a show earns an even higher salary.
Something to keep in mind is that a Broadway star’s salary is dependent on a show’s longevity. While they may earn upward of $105,000 annually, they don’t earn anything after a show closes or finishes a run. There are usually times when a Broadway star is between acting jobs.
Job Growth Trend
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that acting for the Broadway theater is a growing industry. With a 12 percent job increase happening between 2016 and 2026. Despite the number of jobs available, the BLS predicts fewer performances of less successful or smaller productions due to cuts in funding for the Arts.