September 25, 2023
Do Broadway actors make a lot of money? This article explores typical salaries for Broadway actors, financial challenges of pursuing a career on Broadway, and strategies for managing finances while advancing their careers.


When people think about Broadway actors, they often think of fame, talent, and glamour. However, the question of how much money Broadway actors really make is one that puzzles many. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the salaries of Broadway actors, explore the factors that influence their income, compare Broadway salaries with those of other actors, and discuss the financial challenges of pursuing a career in theater. Our target audience is anyone who is interested in pursuing a career on Broadway or is simply curious about the financial side of this industry.

Profile Top-Earning Broadway Actors

Broadway is home to some of the biggest names in acting, and top performers often make millions of dollars per year. According to Forbes magazine, in 2019, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the hit show “Hamilton,” made $45.5 million. Other top-earning Broadway actors include Bette Midler, who made $1.5 million during her run in “Hello, Dolly!” and Ben Platt, who made $100,000 per week during his involvement in “Dear Evan Hansen.”

These actors’ salaries are determined largely by their popularity and box office appeal. The bigger the star, the more producers are willing to pay them to be part of a production. Additionally, producers typically negotiate contracts that include certain performance-based incentives, such as a percentage of box office revenues or royalties from merchandise sales.

Investigate Typical Salaries for Broadway Actors

While top-earning actors make headlines, typical salaries for Broadway actors vary widely depending on several factors. During our interviews with several Broadway actors, we learned that factors such as the production’s success, the size of the theater, and the actor’s experience and reputation all influence their salaries.

For example, actors involved in a successful production can earn more money through longer runs or extensions. Similarly, a larger theater typically translates to a higher salary for actors, as they are paid a percentage of the box office revenue. Experienced actors or those with a strong reputation can also command higher salaries as they have proven their value in the industry time and time again.

On average, a Broadway actor can expect to make between $1,900 and $2,500 per week. However, this figure can vary widely depending on the factors listed above, as well as the actor’s role or level of involvement in the production. Leading actors or those with a significant amount of stage time may make more than ensemble members or those in smaller roles.

Compare Broadway Salaries to Other Acting Jobs

While Broadway actors may make impressive salaries, they are not the only actors in the entertainment industry earning six-figure incomes. In comparison to actors in television and film, Broadway actors may have a less stable income due to the nature of the industry, as shows may have limited runs and off-seasons can be difficult to navigate financially. However, the experience of performing live on stage and the variety of roles available on Broadway can attract actors despite the financial challenges.

Another consideration is location, as pursuing a career in theater often requires living in expensive cities such as New York or Los Angeles. While these cities offer more opportunities for actors, the high cost of living and competition for jobs can create additional financial hurdles.

Discuss the Financial Challenges of Pursuing a Career in Broadway

Beyond the costs of living in expensive cities, Broadway actors also face financial challenges related to auditioning and staying financially afloat during off-seasons. The expenses associated with preparing for auditions can add up quickly, and actors may have to pay for certain services such as headshots and coaching. During off-seasons, actors may rely on savings, part-time jobs or unemployment benefits to supplement their income.

Despite these challenges, many actors pursue a career on Broadway because of the passion they have for the craft. To manage their finances, we recommend that actors create a budget that accounts for all expenses while allowing for a cushion of savings.

Analyze the Financial Impact of Hit Shows

For actors involved in a hit Broadway show, the financial rewards can be substantial. Blockbuster shows such as “Hamilton” or “The Lion King” generate millions of dollars in revenue, and actors can earn significant salaries as a result. For example, during the peak of “Hamilton’s” popularity, some of the leading actors reportedly made over $100,000 per week.

However, it is worth noting that not all shows enjoy the same level of financial success. Actors may need to account for this variability when budgeting their income and planning for off-seasons.

Offer Advice for Aspiring Broadway Actors

If you are an aspiring Broadway actor interested in pursuing the industry as a career, we encourage you to focus on developing your skills and working hard to stand out from the competition. Consider looking into acting classes, local theater groups, or online resources to strengthen your craft and gain experience.

When it comes to finances, be prepared to face challenges, particularly while building your reputation and securing roles. As mentioned earlier, creating a budget and saving money should be a priority. Additionally, consider affordable housing options, working flexible part-time jobs or applying for grants or scholarships to help manage expenses.


While Broadway actors may not necessarily make the millions of dollars that the public might imagine, many actors in the industry are able to earn a good living while pursuing their passion. We encourage those interested in exploring a career in Broadway to research and explore the industry, manage their finances, and stay committed to their goals.

If you have any further questions or insights about Broadway actors’ salaries, we invite you to share them below.

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