Often, actors and actresses who have become famous through Hollywood movies or TV series can today be seen on the stages of Broadway; a career starting here and leading to screen success is comparatively rare. With this casting policy, producers on Broadway continue the path which has commercial success of a play as the ultimate goal (in contrast to artistic performance quality) and which has been criticized by many. The theaters along Broadway are in the hands of only a very small number of corporations. Annually, around 12 million people see a play here. In order to reach an even broader audience, many theater companies go on tour through other cities, often using understudy casts.
Correspondingly, plays are being performed as long as the audience is interested. Record holders in this category are the musicals Phantom of the Opera and Cats. There are only a few theaters that offer subscriptions, enabling them to have less successful plays on schedule as well. The best plays are annually honored with the Tony Awards, the most important award for stage performances.