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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

82
Engrossing

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

82
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy an intelligent script, superior acting, but asks the audience to pay attention and have to "think". Not light and fluffy.

Don't see it if you don't want to have to think about a play, or want a play with a clear protagonist and antagonist. There really is no one to root for.

Also Ayad Akhtar's Junk is an interesting piece. It requires the audience t... Read more Read less

86
Absorbing, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if Fast moving true story with name changes ( to protect the greedy wicked ) that moves quickly and makes for a pleasant evening.

Don't see it if Stocks and bonds are not of interest to you and the players disgust you

80
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.

72
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.

58
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

76
Too large a chunk

See it if You enjoy the business world. Play too long and dense for newbies. Lead charismatic enough to invest 2.5 hours on. Siberry other standout.

Don't see it if you have little interest in business beyond the play. It's just a very long sit waiting for the kingdom to topple.

Also Great bi-level set to keep audience interested while the dense, detail... Read more Read less

67
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...

73
Ambitious, Relevant, Dramatically underpowered, Panoramic view lacks much human detail

See it if you like information-dense dialogue and situations; you enjoy guessing the real-life models for these roles; you liked the play Enron

Don't see it if you're looking for nuance in characters--there are too many here to register as more than types--or motivation; you want human interest side

Also Efficiency is both the virtue and the pitfall of this play and product... Read more Read less

70
Cliched, Intense, Humorless

See it if you like shrill Wall Street/ bad guy bashing....if you like your actors to shout their opinions. Good acting in painful script.

Don't see it if you like nuance or a touch of humor brought to a serious subject.

72
Resonant, Overly smart, Ambitious, Epic

See it if you like a stylish and tactical play with mediocre staging

Don't see it if you prefer not to think when seeing a play

60
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.

92
Absorbing, Relevant, Riveting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if top notch acting, staging yet informational--fast paced, intelligent and informative theater. A wonderful theater piece.

Don't see it if Have no interest in financial world specifically crises of past few decades and its general impact on US & World economy.

85
Dense and unsettling

See it if you're a Wall St wizard or want to know more about finance. Tells you enough to know that the financial shenanigans going on aren't right.

Don't see it if you expect justice to be served.

74
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious

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

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

78
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if you have any interest in finance, and seeing that world represented onstage. Several great performances; Steven Pasquale is spot-on.

Don't see it if you want to see something escapist and light. Also, please note the dialogue pacing is pretty quick. It’s engrossing, but you have to focus.

87
Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Must see, Great staging

See it if you like good drama. Rarely can two and a half hours pass so quickly. Better than his Pulitzer Prize winner.

Don't see it if you'd rather not be entertained.

98
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you read the business pages of your favorite paper. See it if you know what junk bonds are. See it for the intense acting.

Don't see it if Wall Street does not interest you, or you like a play that does not make you think or concentrate on the dialogue.

Also The almost two dozen actors are all pitch perfect. Pasquale is perfect... Read more Read less

80
Great acting, Great staging

See it if You are interested in finance and Wall Street history

Don't see it if You want light entertainment

70
Interesting, Good acting, Relevant

See it if want to learn how junk bonds work. Get depressed. Our country belongs to big business movers & shakers. Sadly even more now in Trumpdom.

Don't see it if want any emotional connection to the characters.

80
Educational, Great set, Steven pasquale, Linear plot, History lesson

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.

70
Ambitious, Intense, Resonant

See it if you are interested and can follow stories about high finance

Don't see it if don't want to relive the financial ups and downs of the 80s

60
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

87
Slick design, Riveting theater, Must-see

See it if you like fast-paced staging, very current themes and a great cast.

Don't see it if you expect complex character development, find it hard to follow basic financial jargon or like your plays short.

81
Absorbing, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a clever and well-written play about greed and power. Moves very fast for how long the play is.

Don't see it if you really don't want to hear financial terms all night.


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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