How Much Are Broadway Actors Paid?
Broadway actors are paid according to an established scale negotiated by their union, Actors’ Equity. Their base salary is determined by the standard union contracts, which are published several years in advance.
Exceptional actors invest years in honing their craft and gaining valuable experience. Their dedication and expertise make them invaluable to the success of any Broadway production.
Lead and Supporting Actors
A good Broadway actor is a vital component of any show’s success. They often invest years of study, rigorous training and extensive performance experience to perfect their craft and bring the characters they portray to life on stage. For this reason, they are highly sought after by producers.
Actors who secure lead roles in Broadway productions are typically paid a higher salary than those in supporting roles. However, the pay scale varies depending on the name recognition of the performer and the importance of the role.
The minimum weekly salary for a professional actor in any Equity production is $2,034. That figure increases if the performer is asked to move set pieces, serve as a dance captain or has a specialty track in ensemble or chorus. In addition, performers can receive a $20 weekly increase for extraordinary risk and contract increment payments. These figures are based on the standard union contracts.
In general, actors on Broadway that are part of Actors’ Equity earn a minimum salary of $2,034 per week. There are smaller salary bumps for performers who do specialty numbers or chorus roles. There’s a bigger bump for understudy assignments and dance captain duties. And if the show has to pay a dancer or actor for moving pieces of set, or for any extraordinary risk payments, that adds up too.
These figures are the base minimum allowed by current contracts. But established celebrities who join a show can negotiate significantly more—called overscale.
Similarly, a show that is an original Broadway production may offer profit-sharing arrangements to its cast members. That’s especially common when the show becomes a megahit. The actors who first joined the cast of Hamilton, for example, have seen their salaries grow to astronomical amounts. That’s because the original cast members helped shape the show’s success and popularity. They took a big risk and deserve a significant paycheck for their efforts.
Stage managers are a vital part of any theatrical production. They handle everything from constructing and destroying sets to managing props, and their work is integral to the success of any show. They are responsible for ensuring that the performance runs smoothly from start to finish.
Many stage managers begin their careers as interns at theatre companies or at places like the Williamstown Theater Festival. This type of internship is an excellent way to gain experience and network with other professionals in the field. Many stage managers also find their jobs through recommendations from other professionals.
Salaries for professional Broadway actors, stage managers and musicians are calculated on a weekly basis since landing a role doesn’t guarantee them a year-round gig. The number of shows a production plays each week will also have an impact on the pay scale. The size of the company or venue can also affect salaries, as can the level of experience.
The illustrious world of Broadway actors showcases a remarkable career path for those who possess the requisite talent and passion. By creating memorable theatrical experiences for audiences, Broadway performers are able to touch and transform lives. However, the financial prospects of a career on these storied stages can often be intimidating for those interested in pursuing this prestigious profession.
The primary duties of a Broadway actor are to perform in a musical or play, working closely with directors, music conductors, costume designers, makeup artists, and hair stylists. They also rehearse daily and are responsible for conveying their character’s story in an authentic manner.
Currently, an actor in a League-produced show earns a base salary of $1703 per week under Actors Equity contracts. However, established Broadway stars can earn upwards of $100,000 a week depending on the popularity of their productions and the size of their roles.