How hard is living while being a performer?

COOOOLkid
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This basically says it all. I'm sure it's mostly everyone's dream to become a star (or even chorus member) on broadway show, however, I was wondering how hard it is trying to live as being a chorus member/swing dancer (or any other non-major character). Would you make enough money to pay the rent? food? leisure?
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bbroadwaybb
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The current minimum for any performer on Broadway is $1422 per week.
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Rathnait62
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And if you can't live on that, you are living too large.
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JerseyGirl2
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Much easier than the alternative.
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Jazzysuite82
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Ummmmm 1422 isn't really that much. I don't know what you people are talking about. It's especially hard if you have a family.
Luckydave14
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1422 is a pretty reasonable amount I think. There is always room for a little more money but around a $73K a year salary is pretty good. That's also really good for the average age of the people who probably get paid that (Guessing that a lot of the chorus/swing members are in their mid-20s-ish)
Luckydave14
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Double
Updated On: 12/16/05 at 03:01 AM
Jazzysuite82
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actually most of the people on Broadway are in their 30's maaaaybe late 20's. The real hardcore dancers maybe are in their 20's but there are plenty of actors in their 30's. Also keep in mind that with Bush in office taxes are rediculous. So there's a huge chunk that comes out for taxes. Then there's union fees, agent fees etc. I mean when it's all said and done it's no where near that. Add to the cost of living in NYC, the fact that an actor's entire time goes into performing, and the fact that MOST actors don't work non-stop on broadway, you can start to realize that while being a performer on broadway will get you a decent living, they are not rolling in the dough.
Fosse76
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1422 comes out to about 74K per year. If you can't live on that, then you are definitely living extravagantly. The U.S. Average I believe is about 45K. If people can't afford to live on that, then perhaps it's time to re-evaluate priorities. That said, you chose to be an actor, you pay the price. No one told you to do it. I live pretty decently and I don't make $74K. And I live in Midtown Manhattan. So if a Broadway performer can't support himself on 1422 per week, he gets no pity from me.
Kringas
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On what planet is $1422 a week not that much? I don't make that much in a month.
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The Distinctive Baritone
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Then again, that's Broadway, which is the highest level (tier) of Equity. You can be an Equity actor and still earn only a few hundred dollars a week doing certain regional theater shows.
Jazzysuite82
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Well you probably have your job continuously, Broadway actors don't. Also the American Dollar goes a lot less further in New York than it does in a lot of places. Like I said before after all the fees an actor is prob making about $1000 per week. 52,000 a year in NYC really isn't a lot of money beleive me. When you've got a home and family to take care of it's not much.
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sweetestsiren
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I would imagine that the problem with that salary statement is that that's assuming that you'll be continuously employed in a Broadway (as opposed to off-Broadway or otherwise) show.... is that a safe assumption to make?
RentBoy86
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that may seem a lot of us suburbans, but how much is the average rent cost in NYC? do most ppl live in the city? etc.
Jazzysuite82
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"That said, you chose to be an actor, you pay the price. No one told you to do it."


ummmmm Fosse, is being an actor some sort of punishment?! LOL Pay the price... Secondly no one here is complaining about the salaries. I was merely stating that once all is said and done you're not making a fortune on broadway, esp since there's no job security.
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jimmirae
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Well, If you aren't doing it because you love it, then go be a Doctor or Lawyer. The real honor is waking up and knowing you are blessed to be doing what is in your Heart. "What I did for Love".
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oxdreaminxo
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I agree with jimmirae. Personally I want to be a Production Stage Manager on Broadway. Or even Off-Broadway. Anywhere working in NYC is fine. I hope that's the same salary though, hehe. $1422 a week would be amazing. I work on the weekends and I don't think I make that in a year.
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Kelsey
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Maybe you guys don't realize how much it costs to live in the New York City area, but most apartments are very expensive. And if you have a family, and need more than one bedroom, the price steadily increases.

$1400, or around there, is difficult to live on if you live in New York City.

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I can't believe anyone is complaining about $1400 per week. When you consider it could be someone's first or second job, that's excellent. You're receiving medical benefits as a result of an Equity chorus job, which is major. And what's even more major is that you're (I assume) going to work every day and doing something that you love to do. Most people aren't lucky enough to be doing that. If you're talking about taking care of a family on that amount, even rich people have both spouses working now for the most part.
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redhotinnyc2
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I've lived pretty close to the bone on around $30 thousand give or take a couple thousand) a year for many years in NY, and it ain't easy. I'd take $1422 per week ANYDAY over the jobs I've had up to now.
"I don't really get the ending,all i can go with is when after several months,Judith saw Pat sang,and later she kissed him on the toilet,after that the story back to where Pat went down from the stage after he'd sung,and he went to the italian lady.I just don't get it,what Judith exatcly meant when he kissed Pat that she had seen,and did Pat end up together with The Italian Lady?Please help me,thank u very much!" Quote from someone on IMDB in reference to a movie he/she didn't understand. Such grammar!
Kelsey
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It's one thing to be able to love your job and it's another thing to be able to support yourself and your family.

I haven't heard any Broadway performers complaining lately about their salaries, and I haven't seen any living on the New York streets, so I'm guessing they're making more than the estimated $1422.
nomdeplume
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For our Broadway talent, $1422 is a disgracefully low salary. Lawyers starting at the big Manhattan firms are making $125,000 to $150,000 a year and our top level theatre talent should be receiving at least the same.

A decent modern one bedroom apartment with a doorman in NYC can easily run $2500 a month. Add to that voice, dance and acting lessons. Head shots. Demo CDs. Money for a stylish wardrobe for publicity and press shots.

It's a very tough business, to stay constantly working amidst so much competition, ever more youthful than you are. Most actors have to grind a second job just to pay rent, which gives them no ownership or equity investment in the long run.

And those actors managing to raise a family at the same time deserve a lot of support and respect. European countries have more support and subsidies for artists, and it is unfortunate that the United States does not. For example, some European countries sponsor the arts to the tune of $18 or more per annum per person of population. In the U.S. with the NEA so decimated, it is less than 50 cents.
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moljul
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There is the factor that a lot of actors are not working 52 weeks a year and often go for periods without work but in a long running show NO ONE should complain about making $1400 a week especially considering that is the minimum and therefore what the most inexperienced actors receive which usually means the very young. So to be in your early to mid 20s and making that kind of money is incredible. Most people start out in their first jobs making mid $20s and that in NYC too. I'm in my mid 30s, have 13 years of experience in my field and make a great deal less than a 19 year old in their first Broadway show. Now that sucks! If you have a family and have to support them solely on that salary you need to move to the boroughs or the suburbs like lots of other people in lots of other industries do.
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moljul
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nomdeplume, Very few people who live in New York can afford to live in a modern one bedroom apartment because yes, they do cost $2500 on average. A lot of adults live in 500 square foot studios in a walk up building with no amenities and do their laundry at the corner laundry mat. That's one of the sacrafices you make for living in NYC. Don't expect to live in an apartment similar to any other city. Only those who work in the finance, law firm, etc. fields would live by themselves in a nice, modern one bedroom apartment. I'm sorry but I have no sympathy for a minimum of $1400 a week. I know actors work very hard and it takes a lot of luck and drive to actually get a Broadway show but if you make it to that level, you are paid VERY well.
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electrakitty
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I agree $1400 a week ain't bad. . but that's assuming that you're on Broadway in a long-running show. . .That accounts for perhaps (and I'm pulling figures out of my behind here) .05% of actors. . .Now I do know for a fact that Equity reports roughly a 5% employment rate at any one given time for its members. That includes everyone, including local regional actors who make Equity minimum, over the entire country. 95% unemployment is nothing to sneeze at. It's a tough life and I applaud those who try it, and even more those who succeed.
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