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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
Avg Score

Confusing, Dizzying, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Overrated

See it if You have an MBA and your broker on speed dial , otherwise this play might as well be in another language

Don't see it if You want character development and a plot you can understand

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if the backstage world of the inner working of financial market interest you.

Don't see it if your eyes glaze over at just the mention of the world of finance.

Also Even though it is set in 1985, Ayad Akhtar’s new play paints an ambiti... Read more Read less

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

See it if Different type of play based upon Michael Milken type "Junk " bond financier.Well written and staged.Large cast is terrific.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the subject matter. It is very entertaining and commands your attention from start to finish.

Engrossing, It held my interest, Quite an insight into human nature, Great acting

See it if You suspect that money brings out the best in people and also the worst.

Don't see it if You dislike dramas set in the world of high finance.

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.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if you like great acting, relevant stories, and clever sets.

Don't see it if you don't like complicated stories based on current events with a lot of talking.

Clever, Absorbing, Great writing, Great staging, Infuriating

See it if You want to see a lively, riveting, well-written play set in the conscienceless finance world of the 1980s.

Don't see it if You can't stomach the hubris and greed that is all too present in our economic and political structures.

Also You wouldn't think that a play ostensibly about a mid-1980s Wall Stree... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if If you remember Milken, and the junk bond scandal you will find this very interesting. Spoiler alert: the good guys don't win!

Don't see it if You aren't interested in history or the world of finance.

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

See it if You have any interest in how leveraging debt through junk bonds created billions in the 1980’s. Excellent acting and very well executed.

Don't see it if You have no interest in, or knowledge of the 1980’s junk bond industry and the billions created.

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, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You want an adult show, well acted, fast paced, with a cast that plays well off each other. The story is historical yet timely, and amusing.

Don't see it if You need happy endings, want character redemption, don’t like “wordy” shows, or care about the financial industry. It’s very focused.

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Poor acting

See it if You want to see any play by Ayad Ahktar regardless of quality.

Don't see it if You prefer plays well written and acted.

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if Crisply written beautifully staged reviving memories of the debt driven 80s exploring greed vanity power and loss of moral compass for $

Don't see it if You are bored by financial jargon and don’t want to revisit Michael Milken/Boesky era

Also This should have been great but wasn’t. Although the narrative was wel... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Compelling

See it if You want to see a great drama about financial markets that is wholly relevant: the struggle btwn old & new money, btwn profits and people.

Don't see it if Financial jargon will turn you off - you need at least a basic understanding of things like stock and debt to keep up.

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

See it if You at to see a good show, well written with a good cast. If you understand the nuances of the biz world and finances.

Don't see it if You have no interest in the story behind this play, or in biz world and junk bonds.

Absorbing, Dizzying, Intense, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if you remember Michael Milken and his dealings in junk bonds and want to see a reenactment of what he did and what happened

Don't see it if you don't like serious dramas; you might find 22 characters confusing

Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Resonant, Great acting

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, Intelligent, Masterful, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if you are interested in learning some things about the manipulation of the financial market. I enjoyed it and learned some history.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a play about the financial world.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Confusing, Intense, Disappointing

See it if you want to see a play about the 80's Junk Bond era, that is well acted, well directed, and that your friends are talking about.

Don't see it if you expect to get insight into the events of the 80's on Wall Street or if you don't like yelling.

Also I was disappointed in the play since friends said the play is a "must ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you like serious plays about high finance. The well paced show moves along and never drags. An incite into junk bond manipulation.

Don't see it if you don't like shows about corporate finance or you are looking for a funny play.


See it if A hard-driving thinly disguised retelling of the rise and fall of Michael MIlken the "Junk Bond King" in the 1980's. Never a dull moment.

Don't see it if If the complexity of financial transactions put you to sleep no matter how vividly they are portrayed.

Also The rapidfire-gun patter of financial talk that gave the play authenti... Read more Read less

Great staging, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Brilliant set

See it if you enjoy challenging material on a serious subject which is not always easy to follow, brilliantly staged, and based on true events.

Don't see it if you only want to be entertained and you don't want to have to deal with conflict and angry confrontations.

Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Epic, Ambitious

See it if you like historic plays and if you are interested in the stock market decline in the 80's. Production is iarge scale with large cast

Don't see it if if you only like musicals or if you don't care about plays about the stock market

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

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.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You're interested in seeing how the Wall Street folks make money. Not always admirable. You learn what really motivates people.

Don't see it if you don't have interests in the financial world, who inhabits this world and why.

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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