Why Broadway Performers Are Paid More

A recent New York Times article discussed a meeting being held to protest a “tiered wage” that averages $1,000 per week for performers in touring productions of Broadway musicals -- compared to a “full wage” of $1,800 for the Broadway productions of the same show.  

Why shouldn’t the pay be the same for the same effort?  The article gets the answer correct: the pay must equal the marginal revenue product for the production to be profitable; and even compared to performances in cultural capitals like Austin, Tex., the revenue-per-seat-filled on Broadway is much higher. A touring company just cannot, as the article notes, make a profit or perhaps not break even paying the same wages as on Broadway.  Perhaps not fair to the performers, but this is good economics.  With this difference in pay, however, the quality of the touring companies is unlikely to be as good as the Broadway company.

Wanna Buy a Tony Award?

People give to charities for all kinds of reasons – some more noble than others. But one important motivation is recognition. If Yale mandated that it would only accept anonymous donations, its fundraising would be decimated.

There are a lot of different ways to garner public recognition. If I had 3 million bucks to throw around, I’d think long and hard about trying instead to buy myself a Tony Award. For as little as $200,000, you might be able to purchase an 8% chance at winning a Tony.

Let me emphasize that this is at best a crude ballpark estimate. Over the last 5 years, 12.2 new plays have been produced on Broadway each year. For a play, which generally runs about $2.5-3 million these days, my friend Jack Thomas at Bulldog Theatrical tells me you can usually find yourself among those listed above the title for about $200,000. Some investors split this minimum ante and put up or raise just $100,000 each and get listed as Bulldog Theatrical / Cantab Theatrical.

Rocco Landesman Answers Your Broadway Questions

We recently solicited your questions for Broadway producer Rocco Landesman, and threw in a few of our own as well. Reading his answers below, you can see why he is considered not only one of Broadway’s best producers, but also one of the most astute. Thanks to Rocco, and to all of you for the […]

Bring Your Questions for Broadway Producer Rocco Landesman

Rocco Landesman is a Broadway original, a producer with the heart of an artist, and a rogue businessman if ever there was one. (He is also, I am happy to say, an old friend of mine.) He is president of Jujamcyn Theatres, one of the big three Broadway theater companies, and is also one of […]

The FREAK-est Links

Do restaurants blacklist black customers? (Earlier) Higher emissions standards could give car inspectors more incentives to cheat. New Broadway play puts game theory into action. (Earlier)