Working on Broadway
How Competitive Is Broadway?
You dream about being on Broadway. And you’re wondering, “Can I really do this?”
“Is this possible, or totally delusional? I’ve heard musical theatre is a tough industry, but how competitive is it, really? Do I have a shot?”
We’re not going to sugarcoat things. You’ve got to know right up front that it’s going to be a hard road to get to Broadway, and there will be fierce competition. You’re going to have to set yourself apart from the crowd, make a splash, and make a name for yourself. So, real talk. What are the chances of making it on Broadway?
What are the Chances of Making it on Broadway?
First off, you have to define what “making it on Broadway” means.
There are 42 theaters in the Broadway district in NYC. Each theatre typically employs around 30 performing artists. That means, in a typical season, there are 1,260 Broadway roles that need to be filled.
How many people are trying to get one of those coveted roles? At least 10,000. It’s a rigorous selection process. You’ve got to be in top 10% to get hired and cast in a show.
What many people don’t realize is that getting hired for a Broadway show isn’t just about raw talent. The casting director is considering numerous factors: your singing, dancing, and acting abilities, your work ethic, your attitude, your network of colleagues and relationships you’ve built, your professional reputation (are you easy to work with, or someone who whines and complains?) and where you attended college. If you have a BFA degree in musical theatre from a top school, that gives you a competitive edge in the audition process.
How Many Callbacks Are There For a Broadway Show?
There’s no set number of callbacks. Your first audition is usually what’s called a prescreen where you sing with a pianist and read some lines. If they like you, they’ll call you back. And if they haven’t made a decision after that callback, they’ll call you back again. Nothing is ever set in stone, but at each stage of the process they’re whittling down their choices, so the more times you get called back you can know that they like you enough to see more of you! You just need to be prepared each and every time, and really make the callback count.
Broadway Casting Calls
How do you find out about casting calls, and how do you get the chance to audition for a role? There are several options.
If you have an agent, then your can agent line up auditions for you. If you don’t have an agent yet, another option is to go to an open casting call. These are posted online on websites like playbill.com and backstage.com. You’ll often notice the phrase “Equity call” which means you have to be a member of the Actors’ Equity Association in order to audition.
Your head might be spinning right now with so many questions, like, “But how do I get an agent? What happens at a casting call? Equity what now?!” and a hundred other questions. We feel you. All of this can feel overwhelming! But we’re here to guide you down this path.
If you’re serious about working in musical theatre, join Hello Broadway. This online academy is the best place to strengthen your dance, voice, and acting skills, and learn how to navigate the Broadway industry, too. Inside Hello Broadway, you get paired with a Broadway coach (a real-life Broadway performer who knows the industry, firsthand) who becomes your mentor and can answer all of your questions. It’s like having a big brother or big sister…on Broadway!
The good news: you can put yourself ahead of the game.
Broadway is very competitive–extremely competitive–but it’s also wonderful and rewarding and an experience like no other. Do the work now that will get you in the right doors, get you in the right auditions, get you in the right BFA programs, and get you in the right shows. That’s what’s going to get you on Broadway.