ASK PLAYBILL.COM: A Question About an Actor's Decision Between Broadway and the Road

By Robert Simonson
16 Mar 2013

Kyle Barisich
Photo by Joan Marcus

Actor Kyle Barisich has gone back and forth a couple times between the Broadway and road productions of The Phantom of the Opera. He started in the New York ensemble as a swing. He was then eventually asked to go on the road, first in the ensemble and then separately as Raoul. Today, he plays Raoul on Broadway.

Barisich saw advantages to both jobs. "I'd never been in a Broadway show and I'd never been in a national tour, so with both those offers, things were looking good for me."

He said that many actors worry that, if they take a touring job, they might lose out on some unseen future opportunity in New York. "A lot of actors get caught up in worrying they're missing opportunities. But you can go crazy thinking like that and end up doing nothing." In his case, taking the road job created an opportunity, as playing Raoul on the road led to him getting considered for the same role in the Broadway production.

"I know it got me a shot. It got me into the room. But I always had to audition every time. It was never handed to me."

Like Barisich, James can see the advantages of both sorts of gig. "There is something to be said about being in New York to take advantage of the many opportunities that arise in theatre, TV, film, etc.," he said. "There's also something nice about going to your own home at the end of the day rather than a hotel. Touring also has its appeal, as you get to see the country, sometimes the world and also save a bit more money since expenses on the road are minimal. But the best thing of all is to have a job doing something you love to do, no matter where it is."