There are many different paths to Broadway and not very many of them lead directly to Broadway straight out of college, but that does not mean they are any less valuable. Here are a few options:
Some quick background: There are two typical models for theatrical businesses - non-profit and commercial. While they sound like completely separate models, they are very intertwined and have a symbiotic relationship. Broadway operates under the commercial model, but it usually fed by non-profit theaters, as they fund workshops, staged readings, off-broadway productions, and everything in between.
Do some research on who's bringing shows to Broadway. Typically most Broadway shows, especially musicals, start with workshops and smaller productions at non-profit companies before transferring to Broadway. Companies developing work for Broadway can be everything from large non-profit theaters like Lincoln Center and the Public Theater, smaller, more niche theatrical companies such as Deaf West Theater. There are also a few Broadway producers with their own production companies who bring work to Broadway directly, but very few productions go from the page to the stage without coming through a non-profit theater first.
Once you've completed that research, look into apprenticeship and internship programs. Personally, I would steer away from anything unpaid or with a stipend that is lower than minimum wage, especially if you have your BFA. These programs are typically feeders for the next generation of theater professionals and give great hands on experience learning different aspects of theatrical production.
- Look into working for Broadway Tours (both nationally and internationally). I have many friends who went straight from college and right into positions on National/International Tours of famous broadway shows
- Look abroad! London has a Broadway equivalent called the "West End." This is where big mainstream musicals and plays like Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, and Curious The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime started out before coming to the US and Broadway
- Last but not least, I'd like to reiterate what Kathleen mentioned about creating contacts. The Broadway and theatrical community is pretty small compared to many other industries, so getting connected and involved, meeting people and developing working relationships will help you land your next show. So much hiring in theater is by word of mouth and reputation, so the more involved you can be, the better positioned you'll be to land your dream job on Broadway.
To your note about wanting to eventually design for Broadway, look into starting with smaller community productions that allow you to get your hands wet in the design process. Designing a show is different than running a show, so it's great to have experience in both as you pursue your dreams.
Katie recommends the following next steps:
- Research who's bringing shows to Broadway
- Look into Internship and Apprenticeship opportunities with those companies
- See what opportunities are available on Broadway Tours, both domestically and internationally
- Get involved in the theater community to begin to build relationships which will aid in future career endeavors
- See what opportunities there are to design shows on a smaller scale and hone your design chops