Performing on Broadway is seen as the pinnacle of success as a stage actor. Although it takes an inordinate amount of skill and some luck to obtain a role on Broadway, its actors are generously compensated for their work. According to The New York Times, Broadway performers are rarely paid less than $2,000 a week, which comes out to an annual salary of $104,000 – if they work all year.
No Dress Rehearsal
Actors earned an average salary of $74,817 a year per year, or $35.97 an hour, in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $8.58 an hour ($17,846 annually), and the top 10 percent earned $90 an hour ($187,200 annually) or more. However, this statistic covers both stage and screen actors of all skill levels. A Broadway actor – the term "actor" is now used for both genders – would fall on the higher end of that spectrum.
Packing the House
In addition to being paid for their work, Broadway actors and actresses may also receive a cut of box office sales when a show does well. According to Playbill.com, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were paid $40,000 a week for their performances in "A Steady Rain," but they netted more than $100,000 a week due to box office sales.
Don't Be Upstaged
Broadway actresses are often members of the Actor’s Equity Association, an organization that provides networking opportunities and personal benefits to its members. According to the Actors' Equity Association website, members are guaranteed a minimum pay rate depending on their role in a production, as well as overtime pay and additional pay for taking on extra duties. Broadway actors also receive additional benefits through the association including health, pension and a 401(k).
Movin' On Up
Having a talent agent influences an actor's pay. According to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, agents receive a cut of an actor’s salary, but work to promote their clients, help them find new opportunities and negotiate for better pay. Additionally, as an actor acquires new or specialized skills (singing, dancing or juggling, for example) she may be qualified to audition for higher-paying roles.