How Much do Broadway Actors get Paid? (Expert Guide)

Have you ever watched your favourite play on Broadway or a popular musical and wondered how much the performers get paid for their talent? 

Do they earn as much as on-screen actors? 

This article will guide you through the salaries that Broadway actors and actresses get for their amazing on-stage performances.   

What is the average salary of Broadway actors?

Broadway actors earn a minimum average salary of $2,034 per week. This is the standard base salary for actors contracted under the Actors’ Equity Union. Most of them make around $1,500 to $2,000 per week as long as a Broadway show lasts. 

The base salary may vary due to a number of factors like the company contracting the actors, the category of actors, i.e. A-list and B-list celebrities or actors whose names effortlessly sell tickets, and the role played by the actor in a play. 

The actor can also negotiate their salary with their producers. Especially if the performer’s name sells tickets. Others prefer to make bonuses from box office sales when the production sells massively to the audience. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time acting jobs are pretty rare and most actors don’t work beyond three months. Few Broadway shows run for an entire year and the competition for roles is very high. 

Bonus salaries for Broadway performers in the Actors’ Equity Union

Broadway performers who are part of the Actors Equity Union also get additional pay from extra roles taken in a play or helping around the theatre to facilitate performances. For example:

  • understudying principle roles adds $54 and understudying chorus roles
  • Performing full swings while understudying multiple roles adds $101.70, while partial swings attract $15 to their weekly wage 
  • Chorus roles add $20
  • Performing scenes with “extraordinary risk” pays an additional $20 
  • Fight captain roles add $75
  • Choreographers for dance roles add $406.80 
  • Being an assistant dance captain adds $203, and 
  • Moving set pieces on stage adds $8 to the actors’ weekly salary  

If an actor agrees to perform in a Broadway play for an entire year, they get $80 per week for the first six months then $40 for the remaining half of the year. If they complete a full year, they earn $2,600 as a bonus. 

Moreover, Tony Award nominations attract bonus pay to the performers’ salaries. The rates go higher if the play or individual performers win the award.

The salaries of Broadway stage managers, musicians, and conductors

Stage managers

According to playbill, stage managers working on Broadway earn a base weekly salary of $3,342 for musicals, or $2,872 for plays

Assistant stage managers earn a $2,649 minimum weekly salary in musicals and $2,347 in plays. If the musicals have second-stage managers, they’re paid $2,272 as the minimum weekly base salary. 


Professional musicians like those playing musical instruments have varying weekly salaries due to the flexible nature of their work. Most musicians usually have other gigs apart from Broadway shows and other theatricals. 

However, assuming a musician works on the same show for several weeks, they’re paid a weekly base salary of $1,885.77. If the musician doubles up as a substitute musician playing multiple instruments in a show, they get an extra $235.72 per week and $117.86 for every additional instrument played. 

Circumstances like musicians appearing on stage during a live performance add $91.67 to their weekly wages. They also earn an additional $61.13 if they have to put on costumes or perform any kind of choreography. For body paint, they earn $88.62 on top of their salaries. The first trumpet chair earns an additional $100 per week. 


Conductors who orchestrate the score of a broadway show earn a weekly base salary of $3,300. Associate conductors make $2,451.50 as the minimum weekly salary. 

Top 10 Highest-paid Broadway actors and their salaries

  1. Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton tops the list of richest Broadway actors with a staggering $100 million net worth. Her acting career started on Broadway appearing on the show Hair in 1968. She then appeared in Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam which earned her a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play. 

Her acting career skyrocketed after transitioning to film and playing Kay Adams-Corleone in the famous The Godfather trilogy. She’s continued making appearances in several films including Annie Hall, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and Something’s Gotta Give. 

  1. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator, playwright, and star of Broadway’s hit musical Hamilton has quickly become one of the most highly paid Broadway actors. With a net worth of $80 million, Miranda has won several accolades from Tony Awards, an Emmy, and several academy awards for his exceptional performances. 

His exquisite talent has commanded salaries beyond the roof with millions cashing in from royalties earned through high-grossing Broadway musicals. Some of his appearances in popular shows include In The Heights and Great White Way. 

His show Hamilton, according to New York Times, earned him $3 million in ticket sales from the first eight shows.  

  1. Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury’s acting career now spans more than 80 years with an accumulated net worth of $70 million. She rose to stardom after taking the lead role on Broadway’s show Mame in 1966 which won her first Tony Award. 

She went on to take subsequent lead roles in stage musicals like The King and I, Gypsy, and Sweeny Todd. She later transitioned to film appearing in several television shows including the 1984 to 1996 hit drama series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 seasons. 

She’s a co-owner of the Corymore Productions company that produced several films in which she featured from 1984 to 2003. 

  1. Kristen Bell

Kristen’s notable Broadway performances are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 2001 and The Crucible in 2002. Her net worth stands at $40 million

After her breakthrough on Broadway, she landed major roles in films like Veronica Mars in which she starred as Mary Lane. She won the Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television for her stunning performance on the show. 

Her latest significant project is voicing Princess Anna in Disney’s original movie franchise Frozen

  1. James Earl Jones

Deemed “one of America’s most distinguished and versatile actors”, James Earl has been a film actor and theatre performer for more than 60 years. He’s among distinguished actors who’ve received all four “EGOT” awards, that is the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.

He’s performed several plays based on Shakespeare’s literature on Broadway including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Coriolanus.

Over the course of his acting career, he’s received plenty of accolades. In 2017, he was awarded the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2022, the Cort Theater is to be named after him; “The James Earl Jones Theater.” He’s currently worth $40 million

  1. Bernadette Peters

Bernadette is widely known as the Broadway star of Mack and Mabel, Song and Dance, A Little Light Music, and Hello, Dolly! She’s been nominated seven times for the Tony Awards winning two of them and nine times for the Drama Desk Award that she won three.  

She’s also a talented singer and has recorded several albums, performed in concerts, and was nominated for the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards which she won once. Her Broadway stage acting career spanning over three decades has made her worth $40 million

  1. Julie Andrews

Best known for her role as Maria von Trapp in the 1965 The Sound of Music film, Julie Andrews’ acting and singing talent has made her one of the richest stars on Broadway.

Her acting career spun from starring roles on Broadway in 1948 including My Fair Lady, in which she played “Eliza Doolittle” and Camelot, in which she played “Queen Guinevere”.

She starred in several films afterwards that won her several accolades like the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical in 1965. 

Despite the vocal cord surgery that cost her her amazing voice, her success both in film and Broadway remained unshaken. As of now, she’s net worth $35 million.  

  1. Tommy Tune

Tommy Tune is a well-known actor, theatre director, singer, choreographer, and producer. He’s amassed a whopping 10 Tony Awards and was honoured with the National Medal of Arts. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

His entire career as a Broadway performer, director, and choreographer has made him worth $20 million.  

  1. Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein is an actor best known for writing and starring in the Torch Song Trilogy on Broadway. The show earned him two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, and the Theater World Award. 

He’s also a TV star acting in hit films like Mrs. Doubtfire. He’s made appearances on episodes of popular TV shows and has taken up several voice roles in animated films such as Mulan, Hercules, and The Little Mermaid.

His net worth is $20 million.  

  1. Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto is an American film actor and producer. He’s been in the film industry since 2000 playing the character “Spock” in the hit film Star Trek. 

His notable performance on Broadway is The Glass Menagerie in which he played “Tom Wingfield”. He won the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Ensemble in the play. 

His net worth currently stands at $20 million

Frequently Asked Questions: Broadway actors’ salary

How much do Broadway actors get paid in New York City (NYC)?

The labor statistics on the comparably website state that Broadway actors in New York make an average of $144,128 annually. This figure varies depending on how much a play makes from a Theater performance. 

Who is the highest-paid actor on Broadway?

Lin-Manuel Miranda is quickly rising to the top of richest Broadway actors with a net worth of $80 million. This is especially after the worldwide sensation of the Broadway show Hamilton. However, the highest-paid actress on Broadway performers is Diane Keaton. Her net worth is $100 million. 

How much did Hamilton actors get paid?

According to stylecaster, Hamilton actors got higher salaries than the usual $2,034 base salary per week. It’s estimated that each main cast member earned $3,400 a week with the other actors making a $1,900 base salary as per the union contract between 2015 and 2016. 

How much do Broadway leads make?

Famous actors and actresses can command rates as high as over $100,000 per week. They can make more from royalties and ticket sales earned from a Broadway show if it’s part of their contract. 

How much did “Wicked” Broadway actors get paid?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that dancers and choreographers earn an approximate hourly wage between $20.53 and $18.78. This is the report as of May 2021. These figures also vary depending on how much the play attracts a massive audience. 

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