Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Great staging

About the show

Lincoln Center Theater presents Pulitzer Prize-winner Ayad Akhtar's new drama about an '80s junk bond king out to change the rules of the financial world. Starring Steven Pasquale as Robert Merkin.

... Read more

It’s 1985. Robert Merkin, the resident genius of the upstart investment firm Sacker Lowell, has just landed on the cover of "Time Magazine." Hailed as "America's Alchemist," his proclamation that "debt is an asset" has propelled him to dizzying heights. Zealously promoting his belief in the near-sacred infallibility of markets, he is trying to re-shape the world. What Merkin sets in motion is nothing less than a financial civil war, pitting magnates against workers, lawyers against journalists, and, ultimately, everyone against themselves. Set over 30 years ago, this is a play about how, while most of us weren't watching, money became the only thing of real value. Directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes.

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$69 - $99
through 1/07


Previews Pricing (Thru Nov. 2):
Rear/side loge: $59 (reg. $77)
Front loge: $79 (reg. $107)
Orchestra: $89 (reg. $137)


Must purchase by November 2, 2017. All prices include $2 facility fee. Prices subject to performance and availability. Blackout dates may apply. Valid for performances through January 7, 2018. Not valid on previously purchased tickets and may not be combined with other offers. Applicable only to specified performance dates and times. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges. Seating restrictions may apply. Telephone/internet orders subject to standard service fees. When purchasing at box office, present offer prior to ticket inquiry. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time. Limit 6 tickets per order per person per week. All regular and discount prices subject to change.

Telecharge Offers
$69 - $99
through 1/07


Performances through November 1

$89 orchestra (reg. $137)

$79 front loge (reg. $107)

$59 rear/side loge (reg. $77)

Performances November 2 and after

$99 orchestra (reg. $147)

$89 front loge (reg. $117)

$69 rear/side loge (reg. $87)


Must purchase by November 2, 2017. Prices subject to performance and availability. Blackout dates may apply. Valid for performances through January 7, 2018. Not valid on previously purchased tickets and may not be combined with other offers. Applicable only to specified performance dates and times. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges. Seating restrictions may apply. Telephone/Internet orders subject to standard service fees. When purchasing at box office, present offer prior to ticket inquiry. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time. Limit 6 tickets per order per person per week. All regular and discount prices subject to change. Groups 12+ call (212) 889-4300. All prices include $2 facility fee.

$69 - $99
through 1/07


Orchestra: $99 (reg. $147)
Loge: $89 (reg. $117)
Rear Loge: $69 (Reg. $87)


Must purchase by January 7, 2018. All prices include $2 facility fee. Prices subject to performance and availability. Blackout dates may apply. Valid for performances through January 7, 2018. Not valid on previously purchased tickets and may not be combined with other offers. Applicable only to specified performance dates and times. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges. Seating restrictions may apply. Telephone/Internet orders subject to standard service fees. When purchasing at box office, present offer prior to ticket inquiry. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time. Limit 6 tickets per order per person per week. All regular and discount prices subject to change.


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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"Almost numbingly safe...'Junk' follows a labyrinthine, economically dense plot with remarkable briskness, efficiency and accessibility. Still, these assets never quite erase the feeling that what we’re watching is a tale we’ve frequently been entertained and alarmed by during the past three decades...The script is refreshingly nonjudgmental...Every major character is allowed to present the viability of his or her viewpoint…Unfortunately, none of them are entirely convincing either." Full Review

Broadway News

"Directed at the dizzying pace of traders racking up dollars at full froth, and acted by an excellent cast, the play is supremely well-researched, insightful and smart. It is also so conscientiously thorough in its analysis of its subject that it often feels dense to the point of stultifying...The emphasis on the mechanics of deal-making, at the expense of establishing characters we can care much about, leaves 'Junk' with a dramatic balance sheet that’s seriously skewed." Full Review


"Not only the most important play you'll see all year, but the most entertaining...Shakespearean in its outsize scope and dramatis personae...'Junk' may remind audiences of 'The Big Short,' both in its masterful elucidation of a confusing subject and its shocking depiction of the corrupting influence of money. But 'Junk' is even more powerful because those doing the corrupting are in the room with us, and a small voice in the back of our heads is cheering them on. " Full Review


"Doesn’t exactly illuminate the mysterious process whereby corporate marauders...take over companies...What it does do, in this slickly directed production directed by Hughes, is capture the electric energy that fueled these aggressive acquisitions...None of these secondary characters are as fully developed as the two lead players...For a show with far too many people on stage, 'Junk' is actually in need of more people – maybe one or two of them with a heart." Full Review

Time Out New York

“Akhtar spends much of the play briefing the audience on hostile takeovers and insider trading. But the details don’t feel sweaty…‘Junk’ melds a breadth of genres—crime story, tragedy, issue play, cautionary tale—into a fast-moving, broad-ranging social thriller…In Akhtar’s telling, this story is partly about male status and power…But it’s also about race, privilege, competing ideals and, of course, greed. Junk has a cast of 23, and the size of the production helps it cast a wide net of blame.” Full Review

Theater News Online

“‘Junk’ means to be a crash course in crashing the market...Which means, in terms of stagecraft, that data trumps character…There are nearly two dozen characters running around the play, but none is particularly likeable or memorable. Mind you, that’s not a deal-breaker; 'Junk 'is entertaining stuff…Director Doug Hughes delivers a high-energy staging...But there’s little here you’d call revelatory…Even a fiduciary ignoramus might wonder if 'Junk' tells us anything we don’t already know.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"The world of high finance of the 1980s is illuminated in fascinatingly meticulous detail...What we get is a financial fantasyland filled with undercurrents of greed, race, sex and other passions: all in all, a contemporary morality play. Make that immorality play... Akhtar’s writing is smart, focused and laser-sharp...The cast includes a handful of sterling performances...Director Hughes handles the action exceedingly well...Akhtar & Co. provide a theatrical jolt with 'Junk.'" Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Akhtar spins a tough, muscular melodrama about the finance jungle, directed at breakneck speed by Hughes...It may initially strike audiences as a twice-told tale...But the playwright has plenty of fresh points to make...’Junk’ is also a much richer piece because Akhtar has taken the long view, connecting the dots between 1985 and today...Cheers to Lincoln Center Theater for producing this rangy, mordant new play and giving it the first-class production it deserves.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"With its clipped scenes and brisk, brash dialogue, 'Junk' feels poised, and not always easily, between moral tragedy and popcorn thriller. And it can’t quite make up its mind about the man at its center, a stance that seems intellectually honest and dramatically wimpy...'Junk' would be worth a lot more if the audience was given a better sense of what drives Merkin...'Junk' isn’t junk – it’s smart, speedy, often adroit. But an AAA play might dare some answers." Full Review

Theater Life

“’Nobody knows what any of this shit means!,’ cries one of the characters...Fortunately, Akhtar and his director Hughes makes these complex maneuverings fascinating and exciting, if not entirely understandable...Hughes’ crisp staging keeps the action moving as fast as those neon symbols on the stock market news zipper and the large cast create distinct and vibrant characters so we follow the sometimes confusing storyline.” Full Review

New York Theater

"If there’s little that feels unfamiliar or especially timely in 'Junk,' Akhtar has written a reasonably lucid primer on the process and logic of 1980s corporate takeovers...Director Doug Hughes makes the two and a half hours of the play go swiftly...It’s in one way to Akhtar’s credit that he creates no complete villains in 'Junk'...But there are also certainly no heroes." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Hughes's production…drives the action like a race car, the engine's roaring captured in the high-decibel, 300-horsepower performances of almost every character. You get little opportunity to ponder the nuances of the complex fiscal and legal patois as Akhtar steers us down the twisting road…Despite the…shiny surfaces, including a sleek, abstract set by John Lee Beatty, the play never fully humanizes the characters or makes Merkin's intrigues all that compelling.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Akhtar is a perceptive writer with an ear for pithy dialogue, so he keeps it engrossing...What he can't do is make us care about these characters, which somewhat limits 'Junk' to the sphere of glossy info-tainment...'Junk' isn't lacking in food for thought, but as drama it's a little dry and unrelentingly talky...The writing is brutal, clever, often witty, and the production sharp as a tack. But many will be left wondering if they really needed this dispiriting recap." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"An ensemble so huge that it would have taken a Tom Stoppard —or a Shakespeare—to portray the individual characters as anything other than stick figures. Mr. Akhtar is talented, but not that talented...Doug Hughes has staged it with knock-’em-flat energy, and the production is as smoothly and propulsively wrought as the hostile-takeover plot is familiar...I esteem Mr. Akhtar for writing a big play about a big subject, but 'Junk' is too slick to be fully satisfying." Full Review

AM New York

"You call this 'Junk?' I call it solid storytelling...What separates Akhtar’s play is how it so skillfully integrates the speed, size, and detailed plot mechanics of a high-stakes thriller with light comedy and space for the characters to consider how high finance both deviates from and reflects traditional American values...Even while many of the characters are underdeveloped, 'Junk' is engrossing from start to finish, and Hughes’ sleek, high-powered and fluid production never lags in moment... Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"The timing of the play is the problem...The playwright’s consideration of junk-bond king Milken‘s manipulations of the market comes rather late in the day...Akhtar aims for his wrangle with junk bonds as a metaphor for any stripe of shady financial dealings, but that carries neither enough weight nor enough suspense to sustain this two-act piece...He might have racked up more points with something torn more definitively from 2017 headlines." Full Review

Front Row Center

“This fictionalized account is largely on point — broad strokes, to be sure, but all-in-all accurate in spirit if not detail...The show paints a realistic picture of how it was...There is a huge cast, 24 people in all, some with several roles. All are good, or bad, as they are written. The direction is lively, the effects powerful, and, while set in the ‘80s, the moral desert of the money cult and the latter-day ‘kings’ in towers hold a very current punch. I’d say go.” Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"Although playwright Ayad Akhtar's moralistic and cynical new drama...does not tell us much we do not already know, there is still something illuminating and undeniably stimulating about watching the multifarious fiscal sins of the ’80s all laid out before you...Especially as produced here, 'Junk" is an epic, strutting, restless, sexually charged, slam-bang-wham piece of work...A show ideal for those who become bored easily with traditional theatrical manufacturing." Full Review

New York Daily News

"A Broadway play that’s accessible, but not illuminating or surprising...Polished but lacks a satisfying punch. A sly little jab at the end isn't the same thing...Doug Hughes directs a crisp and fluid staging...While most characters don’t elude cliches, the acting is uniformly fine...In the end, a loud-ringing message is that the almighty dollar corrupts all. True enough. Then again, we didn’t need 'Junk' to tell us that." Full Review


"Akhtar's a caster of spells, which is possibly the only way into the gripping tale he tells here...It is searingly human. Akhtar has repeatedly shown a gift for creating individuals free of the kind of stereotyping that has marked so many accounts of the financial corruptions and collapse of the ’80...He refuses to paint in broad strokes...Accordingly, Hughes has staged the play with infinite detail and a kind of exquisite filigree in the way characters are motivated and defined." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“The writing borders on Shakespearean in its decidedly Machiavellian discontent. It’s expansive in its dense storytelling, complex in its plot, and concise in its structure...The play, as directed by the always solid Hughes is crisp and precise...’Junk’ is complicated and compelling, but I would add that Akhtar throws all the clichés and stereotypical behavior straight up and neat without a lot of surprises or twists of character." Full Review


"Though perhaps not stuffed with forever treasured quips as most Shakespeare plays or without one really unforgettable quote like Wall Street's "greed is good", 'Junk' is nevertheless smartly scripted, and integrates multiple issues into the main plot with Shakespearean flair...Hughes keeps the multi-faceted plot developments moving at presto tempo...Thanks to the smart script and staging, the result is top to bottom excellence for the small as well as major role players." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"The lack of anyone sympathetic to root for is a problem for me. It is basically an ensemble piece with too many characters for any of them to be developed in much depth. If you are too young to remember the rise and fall of Milken, you may learn something new. Otherwise, your level of engagement may depend on your interest in finance and the economy...Hughes skillfully keeps the many strands under control." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Akhtar has done his homework...Akhtar weaves the many threads of his plot into a complex tapestry, played out in a dazzling array of intersecting scenes...'Junk,' well-acted by a fine-tuned ensemble and spinningly directed by Hughes, threatens at times to be engulfed by its complicated story and hand-to-hand combat that reflect Akhtar's research and his efforts at developing the many characters and subplots." Full Review

The Wrap

"You have to scratch your head in wonderment at why the talented writer of 'Disgraced' bothered with a subject that movies have handled so much more effectively... 'Junk' might have been a guilty pleasure...Instead, Akhtar attempts to explain complicated business deals involving junk bonds and debt, and not for a moment does any actor on stage emerge as anything other than a pale avatar recycled from any of the movies mentioned above...In the theater, greed is now simply tedious." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Intelligent, Intense, Relevant

See it if you're interested in the pitfalls of a capitalist economy.

Don't see it if you're looking for something that doesn't require a significant amount of thought or focus and rather just be entertained.

Great set, Educational, History lesson, Steven pasquale, Linear plot

See it if you are game for a well staged history lesson regarding a wild character in the financial world or are a big fan of Steven Pasquale.

Don't see it if you are expecting to be blown away be a massively theatrical piece of entertainment. This is solid, linear storytelling.

Relevant, Confusing, Disappointing, Insipid, Slow

See it if it was cool to see Steven Pasquale

Don't see it if it was almost as boring as Oslo

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You want to rehash the financial crisis and see how it spins out of control from various viewpoints. It’s long but keeps up the pace.

Don't see it if It reminded me of Enron the musical so didn’t seem so novel. Stephen Pasquale seemed miscast.

Great acting, Banal, Cliched, Insipid, Great staging

See it if Interested in a story about greed, opportunism, and finance run amok. Well staged and some great performances

Don't see it if You know this story already. It's been told many many times before, and it doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Interesting, Entertaining

See it if You're interested in plays that take place in the 80s and deal with that whole culture, including stories based on real events of that time.

Don't see it if You cannot follow or do not have any interest in financial terms. You don't want to see a show with a bunch of men standing around talking.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if You are happy to see ashow that employs a lot of actors.

Don't see it if You are not paricularly interested in stock manipulation 20 years ago.

Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you love taut dramas in which you concurrently feel sympathy and revulsion for both sides of a conflict.

Don't see it if if the deluge of financial terms and complexities of insider trading will make your eyes glaze over.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Richly created portraits for many of the characters give the talented cast many opportunities to shine and gives empathy to all characters

Don't see it if You've had enough of the financial crisis; you are looking for answers and clear cut villans and heros

Great acting, Confusing

See it if You want to see some great acting and snappy, albeit confusing, dialogue.

Don't see it if You're easily confused or thrown off by complex banking mumbo jumbo. I will confess I didn't know what was happening all the time.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you want to see a fast-paced, informative play on greed, corruption, and the manipulation of the financial markets.Great acting and staging.

Don't see it if you don't want a realistic education about market manipulation, hostile takeovers, corruption, etc. or just prefer not to think at a show.

Also Having been a Vice President and Department Manager in real time tradi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Well-written

See it if u want to a good (necessarily simplified) view into how the mortgage crisis happened & (more broadly) how Wall Street controls all our lives

Don't see it if you want to turn your brain off, you've got to pay attention to follow along. You don't want a reminder how the rich play by different rules

Also Without giving much away, near the end a steel factory worker scolds h... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want a history of junk bonds and want to see some great acting. Although the play is quite long, it is very entertaining.

Don't see it if you are not interested in finance or cannot maintain attention for long periods of time. You need to pay attention to the details.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy electrifying and timely drama and if your eyes don’t glaze over when the topic is finance. Beautifully staged, a dynamite cast.

Don't see it if You believe the 1% earned their wealth through honest work (and don’t want that opinion challenged).

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to learn more about junk bonds.

Don't see it if You want a fast moving punchy show.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you like plays that are complex and make you think. Steven Pasquale is phenomenal. The play manages to both educate and entertain throughout

Don't see it if do not like long plays. The play is very technical. If you do not want to have to pay attention to detail then you should not see it.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You like a well acted portrayal of events that were typical of those during the unregulated junk bond era. Thought provoking

Don't see it if You prefer to see a musical

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you’re interested in what our major playwrights want to tackle and want to be amused and entertained

Don't see it if you expect groundbreaking answers to life’s major questions

Also This was an excellent play, beautifully staged and acted (Michael Sibe... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You like really intelligent plays you have to focus on, and aren't bored by the financial sector.

Don't see it if You don't want to focus carefully on the action and are really bored by anything having to do with finance.

Also Reminded me of "The Big Short". A cautionary tale for our time about g... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Confusing, Slow

See it if you understand and are interested in the US economy, stocks, etc. It's very similar to The Big Short...

Don't see it if you can't handle money talk and get bored by it easily

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you understand the financial world. Like to see evil and greed keep their ethical outlook.

Don't see it if you can't pay attention and follow a complex story. Or you are unable to laugh at horrible people doing horrible things.

Also Steven Pasquale was miscast and couldn't really hold down the lead of ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Riveting

See it if You want to be in a whirlwind of an evening. Very fast paced and so smartly done.!Acting is great. You won’t be bored!!!

Don't see it if Just see it! You won’t be disappointed.

Ambitious, Epic, Great acting, Intense, Great staging

See it if You like plays about big events from history. You are interested in finance. You like plays told from multiple POVs.

Don't see it if You're not interested and/or know little about finance. You prefer to follow 1 character's POV. You prefer a play about contemporary events.

Intelligent, Disappointing, Slow

See it if a play about finance intrigues you. Steven Pasquale is great, but I didn't find the writing incredibly compelling.

Don't see it if plays in general aren't your thing/if you're more a fan of musicals. Don't see this if you aren't familiar with financial jargon.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting

See it if Fast paced drama about contemporary financial issues.

Don't see it if Not interested in plays about finance. Are sensitive about how Jews are portrayed .

Also Pleasantly surprised after some lukewarm word of mouth reviews

Cast & Creatives (30)