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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)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Great staging

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.

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.

Interesting topic, Impersonal, Stereotype-y, "look at me" staging, Good dialogue, questionable direction

See it if You are interested in "important" topics, care about the roots of our society's inequality, appreciate efforts to explain "high finance"

Don't see it if You are looking for the next Glengarry Glen Ross or Serious Money (film). Financial machinations outweigh personal stories, so we don't care

Slow, Disappointing, Technical, Formulaic, Cold

See it if you're deeply interested in the subject matter of junk bonds or risky financial decisions

Don't see it if you like your stories set within a broader context or with rich character development; this comes across as a straight story told not shown

Boring, Overrated, Slow

See it if you want to see how greed and money are of the utmost importance to some people...

Don't see it if you are looking to find any likeable characters...


See it if Very well staged. The decade of greed is your cup of tea.

Don't see it if First Act is a lot of set up, Second Act is much richer.

Static, Slow, Forced, Extensive dialogues, Finance specific

See it if you are really interested in the history of finance. You have patience for slow storytelling, which rotates around a single topic.

Don't see it if you don’t like plays that feel long and motionless. The acting feels forced, and conveys a lack of interest and motivation from the actors.

Slow, Disappointing, Relevant, Confusing, Insipid

See it if it was cool to see Steven Pasquale

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

Disappointing, Dull

See it if you are OBSESSED with business and the stock market

Don't see it if you want to care about the characters or story

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.

Great staging, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You understand how the stock market and financial world works. This play is very well written and acted.

Don't see it if You don't know a little about the topic. Personally I don't understand the financial world and had a hard time "keeping up."

Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You missed Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short at the movies and need a repeat production done on stage.

Don't see it if You have something more entertaining to see or can’t get a great deal.

Banal, Same old same old, weak work of the author

See it if you just have to see a bashing that isn't offering anything new

Don't see it if you aren't seated dead center, the side seats which are usually fine in this theater don't let you see the projections

Also due to a stupid configuration of the set many in the audience won't se... Read more Read less

Dated, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you are a finance $$ person and LOVE shows about that but I have seen it done so much better on stage and in film.

Don't see it if you value your time. Bloodless. You care for no one or anything. Too slick/fast like maybe if they zip thru no one will notice play

Ambitious, Cliched, Disappointing, Relevant, Confusing

See it if You really like plays about finance.

Don't see it if You like plays with a lot of staging.

Disappointing, Banal, Overrated

See it if you are interested in a glitzy set, want to see a good lead actor, and won't mind a very uncompelling script with a mundane message

Don't see it if you are not interested in bland junk bond explanations in a vehicle that lacks character development and desperately needs editing.

Cliched, Banal, Great staging, Great acting, Insipid

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.

So predictable without drama

See it if You want to see an abridged history lesson of Junk Bonds

Don't see it if You want to see a tight script. Even the few sympathetic characters do not garner much sympathy

Overrated, Indulgent, Great acting, Slow

See it if If you’re a fan of shows that deal with corporate greed.

Don't see it if Definitely not one for the family or people who don’t enjoy financial takedown stories.

Also While I generally like stories about the take down of Wall Street, the... Read more Read less


See it if You want to rehash the rising tide of greed in America with all its cliches

Don't see it if You are outraged by the present state of affairs in America. It will only add to your stomach acid.

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.

Cliched, Great acting

See it if you would like to see a theatre version of Wall Street (the movie) on stage. The actors are great, though.

Don't see it if you dislike verbose plays with little theatrical value

Overrated, Disappointing, Banal

See it if you like to see the plays that get a lot of buzz.

Don't see it if you care about great dialogue and great acting.

Also There is very little emphasis on characterization in this show. The ac... Read more Read less

Interesting, overlong, diffuse

See it if you like ambitious plays, and are forgiving if they fall far short of their goals.

Don't see it if you bore easily.

Also A very long play, with too many characters, JUNK ends with no clear po... Read more Read less

Relevant, Great acting, Confusing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you're fascinated by finance, Wall Street, economics, corporate intrigue, hostile takeovers, money, greed, prejudice, or business.

Don't see it if you want to see something happy and uplifting. This play will be incomprehensible if you don't understand finance or Wall Street.

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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