Already closed | 2h 30m | Upper W Side


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

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

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.

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.

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

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

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Riveting

See it if you are interested in seeing a financial drama. I was worried that I would be confused, but the writing explains it all! & A+ for Pasquale

Don't see it if you're looking for something light, this is not the show for you. You need to be able to pay close attention to this one!

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent, Overrated, Relevant

See it if you want to see the Wall Street of the 80s and 90s replayed once more

Don't see it if you are looking for drama in the telling

Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You like learning about real life events. Like fast paced plays. You are interested in finance.

Don't see it if You can't understand finance. You don't understand financial markets.

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...
read more
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...
read more
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...
read more
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...
read more

Related content