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Junk

From 449 member  reviews
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. 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.


Member Reviews (449)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Great staging
77
Avg Score

77
Intelligent, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Fascinating, Relevant

See it if you enjoy intelligent writing, recall the market crash of 1987 & interested in the stock market and those who gamble on the Street

Don't see it if Wall Street and money manipulation doesn't interest you, you find complex narratives hard to follow, not a Steven Pasquale fan

74
You won't find theatrical gold in junk

See it if fine "procedural" explaining mechanics of junk bond financing & how its king/Mike Milken character was brought down; fine production values

Don't see it if this production has no passion and little drama; doesn't find deeper meaning in junk bond craze; ultimately don't care about characters

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Epic, Great staging, Intense

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.

85
Great acting, Relevant, Confusing, Dizzying, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoyed the movies The Big Short or Wall Street, or shows that hold a mirror up to American business practices.

Don't see it if you can’t do heavy, fast-paced “finance talk.” If you’re not business savvy, all hope is not lost. Stretch your ear and you’ll get the gist.

72
Great staging, Confusing, Disappointing, Intense, Dizzying

See it if You love sleek, big, shiny, hip, fast-paced plays with big ensembles.

Don't see it if You dislike technical business jargon that’s generally difficult to follow, or plays where there’s no one good enough to root for.

79
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if A well staged, sleek production about wall street. It is educational in terms of showing us how we got to where we are today.

Don't see it if You are not interested in learning the recent history of wall street.

Also Two and a half hours with one intermission.

80
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Edgy

See it if the interwinding of complex mini-plots keeps your attention rather then putting you to sleep. I enjoyed it; people near me didn't follow it.

Don't see it if you cannot buy central tickets. The digital elements of the set cannot be seen from the sides but the backs of heads can be.

78
Ambitious, Entertaining, Banal, Indulgent

See it if Perceptively loaded title of leveraging debt and thinly-disguised Miliken get the Lincoln Center treatment. Big production values.

Don't see it if The past predicts the future and all its relevant glories are on display as we're asked to make connections from unions to boardrooms & back

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you enjoy a high powered drama about a high powered industry. Wonderful acting and set.

Don't see it if you like light comedy. There is humor but the events are serious. You don't need to know about the financial world to enjoy this drama.

97
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You'd enjoy a fast paced tale of how Wall Street crooks were ruthless and kept the scheme going until they were finally caught.

Don't see it if You never learned what junk bonds, coupons, poison pills, etc are. But they do explain for the clueless theatergoer.

76
Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You are still interested in a retelling of the junk bond debacle on Wall Street in the 1980's, involving M. Milken. Large cast.

Don't see it if You are bored easily by an overload of financial explanations. The play is 2 1/2 hours long. There are too many characters.

Also On the plus side, the star of the play is Steven Pasquale - one of my ... Read more Read less

76
Intelligent, Slow, Lackluster, Efficient, Good acting and staging

See it if you are interested in the dark side of the financial market in the 1980s; you like sleek productions with hard working actors.

Don't see it if Where's the drama? Insider trading, debt, greed and hostile takeovers deserve passion and tension. Too much talk here, too little action.

77
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you know a bit about the junk bond market; this is a really interesting expose, fast paced and intelligent.

Don't see it if your knowledge of finance is non-existent; you want well developed characters and lots of deep dialogue; you don't like fast paced action.

94
Riveting, Relevant, Resonant, Masterful, Great writing

See it if You want a lesson in what happened in the Junk Bond Era that lead to the quagmire were in today.

Don't see it if You’re looking for something light and breezy. This is an important piece of theatre that you probably shouldn’t miss.

Also I didn’t see this through ShowScore but I thought it was important eno... Read more Read less

80
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you enjoy slick productions with excellent staging, & interested in plays set in the finance world dealing with corruption/insider trading.

Don't see it if It has a different angle with junk bonds, but you probably have seen some variation of the same story. Good, but perhaps lacking originality

58
Ambitious, Dizzying, Confusing, Intense

See it if You understand the financial world they are in. Despite the constant exposition of what was going on I was still at times lost and confused.

Don't see it if You want a straight forward easy to understand story that doesn't revolve around high paced and interesting staging to keep you engaged.

85
Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting

See it if A well-done account of an important time in the US. Intelligently written. Inventively staged. Fun figuring out who was who.

Don't see it if If you don’t know about the people depicted with thinly veiled aliases, or if you don’t understand finance, it might go over your head.

81
Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you picked—and made an effort to understand—your own investments, considered that you’re voting w/ your dollars.

Don't see it if you want to feel moved or especially sympathetic. There are things to admire in Junk but I didn’t get the feels in the least.

Also Akhtar expertly condenses a lot of specialized knowledge into a reason... Read more Read less

68
Disappointing, Intelligent, 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.

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant

See it if You enjoy a good drama based on junk bond trading in the 80's Well acted, even if you know how it will end.

Don't see it if Rehashing the past is of little interest

83
Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if The return of an excellent play which I first saw in London at the National.Still relevant in light of the current administration.

Don't see it if Do not see if you prefer musicals or dislike politically involved plays. Probably not a good play if you lost during the Junk bond crash.

83
Ambitious, Great acting, Indulgent, Resonant, Relevant

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.

82
Clever, Great staging, Intelligent, Ambitious, Intense

See it if you like a show that focuses on the stock market in the 80's. Fast paced rich in detail, well acted and Stephen Pasquale is amazing.

Don't see it if your mind blurs whenever anyone talks to you about their investments.

70
Confusing, Excellent acting, Relevant, Tedious, Thought-provoking

See it if you like fine acting, details of the immoral machinations of Wall St. and commentary on our society's reverence for money and greed.

Don't see it if you dislike a play that is difficult to "follow" as it presents some of the complex minutia of our financial industry's strategies.

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Fast paced thriller

See it if you want a smart, action packed thriller based on true characters about the cut throat world of big business, corporate takeovers, and greed

Don't see it if you have no understanding or care about the world of big business and finance.


November 2nd, 2017
"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 deca...
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November 2nd, 2017
“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...
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November 2nd, 2017
"'Junk’s' driving tempo, cinematic smash-cuts, and clarity of underlying action undoubtedly hold our attention...It’s a credit to Akhtar, Hughes, and Pasquale’s uncompromising Merkin that 'Junk' doesn’t play as a blanket condemnation of Wall Street and a nostalgic eulogy for Main Street...Accordi...
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November 2nd, 2017
"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 unr...
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