How to Become a Broadway Actor or Actress


We get questions every day from people of all ages who are interested in becoming a Broadway actor or actress, are just getting started and have no idea where to start.

Like those at the top of their game in any profession, it’s easy to be inspired by those on The Great White Way, but like other professions, you don’t start out as the CEO of a company or an olympic athlete. You start at the bottom and with a lot of hard work, determination and luck, might get a shot if you take every opportunity that comes your way.

There are basics that every single person who has made it has taken. Though their paths have all been different, here are the things you can do to begin your path to Broadway:

Train, Train, Train

There is nothing natural about standing in front of large groups of strangers, speaking someone else’s words or singing someone else’s songs, while turning partially away from the person to whom you’re talking.

Whether your training takes place in a high school classroom, in a well-established theatre conservatory, under the tutelage of a great teacher in a weekly class, or in each and every show you can get into, you can learn both from the critique you receive directly, and from watching others and listening to the critique they get.

Take acting classes, dance classes, voice classes (whether you’re looking to do musicals or not), get a voice teacher – and do things that seemingly have nothing to do with theatre…

Those who played an instrument had an upper hand in casting for the recent revival of Sweeney Todd; those who were cheerleaders got a leg up in Lysistrata Jones; ballroom dancers have gotten huge legs up in numerous shows. If you’re passionate about anything – continue to train there as well, you’ll never know if it might help you – and if nothing more, you’ll have something else that gives you joy, make you a healthier, more rounded person and expose you to more of the world and more of the incredible people you might one day play.


Connections are a huge portion of this industry. The biggest legs up happen when someone you’ve worked with before recommends you. As much as the diva personality circulates as the norm in this industry, it’s unlikely to ever help you – divas get cast despite their eccentric nature. If you work hard, are fun to work with and are you – directors, writers, stage managers and producers will want to work with you again and might bring you in for consideration in their next project, or suggest you to a friend who’s looking for X for their next project.

Always Say Yes

If you’re asked to do a reading, to meet with someone for a quick lunch, to sing in a cabaret, to do an interview with Seth Rudetsky, anything – say yes. You’ll never know who will be in the audience, whether that writer may go on to become the next David Mamet, or be meeting with him later that afternoon.

See as Much Theatre as You Can

See as many shows as you can – both directly in your chosen area and outside of it. You can learn by watching others, noting what works and what doesn’t and trying to dig in to discover just what it was that made a performance work so wonderfully. And don’t just see Broadway shows, get Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Off-Off Broadway, see West End productions, dance productions, experimental art pieces, the show your cousin is doing at some summerstock theatre upstate. Then sit back and think about what worked and what didn’t and why.

Take Care of Yourself So You Look and Feel Good

And get to the gym – yes, everyone has as much trouble as you do getting there – but if you’re going to become an actor, your looks are part of your package, so tone it and get into the best shape you can.

Also take care of your skin and learn how to apply makeup, invest in clothing and shoes that look good on you, is comfortable and allows you to move.

As much as everyone would like to believe that looks are only a part of the equation — they are a big part and form your first impression. If you look good, hold yourself well and walk into a room feeling good about yourself, you have a leg up over at least half of your competition.

Show Up and Move On

You will be rejected over and over again. You will spend months preparing for an audition and not get a callback. You will not even be considered for a role you know you are perfect for because they decided they want a veteran actress playing it, or producers think Adele will bring in more ticket sales. You might be an inch taller than the man they want to cast as the male lead and so miss out. Or it may be some reason even more inane – the director just ended a relationship with someone who looks like you or he really wants someone with freckles  Most of the time you’ll never know and you’ll never hear back. You’ll have poured out your heart and soul and will be told “we’ll be in touch” and left in the dark.

But your job if you really want to work in this industry is to grow a thick skin, shake it off, and show up for the next audition. To again pour out your heart and soul – to invest every ounce of your being in the next one, most likely to be rejected once again.

Everyone has different techniques for dealing with this – one actress figured out that she would get a callback for every 18 auditions she did, so she would keep track. For every rejection she got, she would put a big “X” and think – I’m one rejection closer to a callback!

It’s an incredibly hard thing to do but it’s part of the job – no matter how famous, how talented, how successful, every actor faces rejection every time they step into a room or submit themselves for a part. But you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t show up first.

Work Hard

After you’ve celebrated when you do get a callback and the incredible day you get cast, hit the ground running – start your research, learn your lines and throw yourself head-first into the role.

During rehearsals, listen to your director, be nice to your stage manager, learn from and work with your fellow actors and soak it all up. Try to stay away from gossip, stay humble and be kind – hopefully you’ll work with some of these same people again in the future. Don’t make the reason you don’t get cast the next time that you snapped at the stage manager during the run of this show.

It’s a hard life and everyone says that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else you should do that instead. Just keep training, networking, saying yes, seeing theatre, taking care of yourself, showing up and working hard — because you know, like everyone in this industry, it’s worth all the heartache and effort, because there’s nothing like the moment the curtain rises and you open your mouth to say or sing your first word.

Advice Directly from the Pros:

Betty Buckley: Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice. : )

Constantine Maroulis: Do everything u can…community theater to school plays, work hard respect the craft and be good to all – never know who they become.

Nick Adams: Find a great acting teacher. Take as many classes as you can in all disciplines. Train. See everything!

Natalie Hill: Study & train & take classes from casting directors then go to open calls & nail it!

Diana DeGarmo: Be a sponge & take everything in-educate yourself! Music, shows, directors,  choreographers, dance, etc – all of it! & have FUN! 🙂

Erin Wilson: Get ready to work like you never have before. Research, be prepared, know your type, be kind, find an outside hobby – sanity!

Howard Sherman: You don’t become a “Broadway actor.” You become an actor and then, perhaps, you get cast in a Broadway show.

Nicole Tori: Lots of hard work, persistence, training, networking and LUCK!

Lexi Lawson: Pray! JK – my advice is to make sure you are fully prepared (though I always have a tendency of always messing up my dialogue) but I go in prepared. And go in loving what it is. The creative team will see if the passion in you pour out if it’s a project you absolutely love and want to be a part of. Good luck to my musical munchkins.

What’s Your Advice?

Do you have advice to share or questions for others who work in the industry? This is such a big question with so many answers — we’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you cope with rejection? What advice would you give someone just starting out? Use the comment form below and help make this post even better!

47 thoughts on “How to Become a Broadway Actor or Actress

  1. I am 9 years old and my dream is to become an actress I love singing dancing acting and musicals and I think I am good at all of them I mean I have hade a solo at school so I think I am prefect also I love speaking to crowds


  2. Hi!I am an 18 year old girl and I am from Kenya. WE are not given as much experience in acting here in Kenya, especially at my high school. I have a real passion to join Broadway and become an actress. I love to sing and dance and Iit is my greatest ambition. I just don’t know where to start. I want to study at Columbia University to gain much knowledge in theater. Please,kindly assist me.


    1. Hi! I’m a 15 year old girl from the Philippines. I got interested in theater just a few months ago and I really want to perform on Broadway one day, or at least be an actress. The city that I live in doesn’t have a lot of opportunities in theater. Personally, I have little to no experience when it comes to theater or performing. I have been dancing for 2 years now and I’m trying to work on my acting and singing voice. Sometimes I wonder if I was a bit late in starting, or if this is really a worthy job. Often times I get discouraged since jobs revolving around the arts is looked down upon in our country. But I always remind myself to keep on dreaming and strive until I’ll be able to perform on a big stage some day. All of us have big dreams, and I tell you, please don’t stop. Hopefully we’ll be able to work together on Broadway.


  3. Hi I’m a 17 year old Nigerian girl with big dreams of making it on broadway, what are my chances of making it big on broadway, or even how can I hope to achieve my dreams of being cast as a lead in one of these broadway musicals.


  4. Hi! My name is Helen. I am 12 years old in Kenya. My dream is to be a child actor on Broadway. I can sing, alto and some suprano. I love art and crafts. I’ve been in a play at school. I am in drama club. Very soon I’ll be acting in africa magic after my interview,hoping I’ll pass. And I really need help to promote my gift. PLEASE HELP ME!


  5. Never get discouraged by rejection! It happens, and it may happen over and over and over again but you just need to keep pushing because the payoff is incredibly worth it!


    1. Keep doing your best and never 👎 give up ⬆️ on your dreams but if you really want to become one ☝️ of the biggest stars ✨ on broadway 🎭 just keep trying with all of your hard work 😓 and delectation and always be so determined and put on your game face on and keep on doing all of your best of remembering all of your lines and just stay calm but study 📖 the lines as hard and as twice as hard as you can and always to keep up ⬆️ with all of the exceptions from all of the people in the musical 🎤 industry expect from you but keep constantly doing your best stay proud 🥲 keep being true to yourself and always to keep holding your head high and stay open to all of the new exceptions and all of the new challenges but stay calm and always stay true yourself and someday soon 🔜 you will be the toast of broadway 🎭 and to always to constantly keep up all of the hard good 😌 work and to keep reaching for the stars ✨ you always dreamt you’ve always wanted to be and have the best of luck 🤞 and always to be so constantly proud 🥲 of who you are and who you always wanted to be and I wish you the best of luck 🤞 and I myself would love ❤️ to be on broadway 🎭 myself and to enjoy 😉 the thing that I love ❤️ the best is acting 🎭 and believe it or not I’m kind of a actress myself and I would love ❤️ to be a broadway 🎭 actress someday in the future hopefully 🙏 i didn’t sound so braggy cause sometimes it’s not good 😌 to brag but that’s all of the advice for some of you right now and like 👍 they say I’m acting 🎭 break a leg 🦵


  6. Hi, I’m Faith! I’m12 years old and I live in California. I attend a performing arts school. I have been in Annie(ensemble), Seussical(Bird Girl), Peter Pan(Vidia), Many church musicals, You’re a good man charlie brown(Sally Brown), Beauty and the beast(Silly Girl/ Lead dancer), The little Mermaid(Flounder), and a professional production of 42nd street as a part of the jr star champion cast. I do private voice lessons weekly as well as practicing throught the week. I do ballet(almost en pointe), Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Tap.It’s my dream to excel at anything I can relating to Musical Theatre! I’m also a huge theatre nerd. What’s your damage heather? The hills are alive, btw.


  7. Hello! I am a 12 year old girl from New England and to be in a Broadway show would be incredible. I do chorus, all of my school musicals, and dance all year. Summer started, and I’m searching for local acting camps. Acting would be my everything. I’m afraid to get up and make a speech, but when I’m acting the lights blind me, so it’s great. I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack every day, and Lin is my idol. Do you have any advice to take it up a notch? Or any advice on how to write a song, because that would be great.


  8. I may not be a pro, but I know one thing: see as many shows as you possibly can. If your mom asks you to go see Shrek the Musical with your little brother, go. If your school has a trip to go see Rent off-Broadway (yes, it is still there), go. Reason being: you learn from professionals AND you (usually) get a great performance


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