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How does someone land a job on Broadway?

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I work in technical theatre and I aspire to one day work on Broadway. After I earn my BFA I want to immediately start working. I want to know who to ask, who to call, who I need to know to land this dream job. I want to first just get a job running a show and prepping for shows and eventually be able to design for them.
#theatre #techie #broadway #acting #actor #drama #performing-arts #performance #theater

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Katie’s Answer

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Hi Amelia!

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
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Kathleen’s Answer

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A good way for someone to land a job broadway is joining local theater groups in or around the area and work on connecting and and being social. When we think of jobs we want big part of this is the connections we make with people. A lot of stars or famous people start off small and and work on social networking which allows them to meet one person who introduces them to other people and so on. By slowly building and getting involved in community things you can also use social media as a way to market yourself. Think of you as a person as your own brand, brands market and advertise themselves and style themselves and communicate with others through social networking and in turn become recognized. Th process can take time but is well worth it. I hope in some way this helped. Personally the reason I have been in over 20 plays and musicals worked back stage and with some great directors is because of social networking and expanding my group of people I talk to. I would recommend searching in your area for theater groups and starting there and maybe making a instagram page or a blog and building up yourself to show case what kind of worked you are an dhow you can add to broadway as a whole, this in turn will slowly help you.

Kathleen recommends the following next steps:

  • Research theater groups in your area
  • Create a social media account to showcase your self and your work and things you care about
  • Create a Linkedinn account to help you network
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