So Is Broadway Still Burning Its Workers Out?

Last month CNBC had a profile of an assistant company manager working on the Broadway show “& Juliet.”   If you don’t know what a company manager on a theatrical production does, it is a good illustration of the broad range of activities the role fulfills.

Schroeder’s main task every show is checking ticket sales and sending numbers up to the producers. But as assistant company manager, she has her hands in much of the behind-the-scenes logistics of the show as well….


This includes hiring the company managers, who are responsible for payroll, policy enforcement and meeting the day-to-day needs of select patrons, cast and crew.


“One of our actors, Mel, came from England,” she says as an example of a recent workday. “At one point I was balancing a payroll sheet, budgeting, and at the same time I’m unpacking, like, 200 boxes from Amazon actually moving this woman into her apartment.”

One of the reasons this article caught my attention was that people on social media were commenting that despite all the changes to work practices that supposedly occurred as Broadway moved out of Covid restrictions, this was a story of a theater professional being worked to exhaustion.

Technically, she gets one day off per week. Often she’s roped into last-minute duties even on that day, though.

“Sunday was my day off and I think we got four or five last-minute house seat orders,” she says, referring to seats booked privately through the show for VIPs or people in the company. “I spent the morning getting those last bits of ticketing in.”

The next line in the article is the subtitle ‘I’m barely breaking even’

Certainly there are a lot of people grateful to be back working on Broadway who want to pour every bit of their heart and soul into the renewed opportunities. But from this story, it doesn’t quite seem like there has been much investment into creating a better work environment for people.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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