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Junk Review
Ayad Akhtarís first Broadway play, 2014ís Disgraced, was a taut and blistering look at the Muslim-American experience that deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize. Which makesJunk, his follow-up about 1980s financial malfeasance, such a disappointment. A sprawling, dramatically flat look at a Wall Street whiz plotting a hostile takeover of a company, it lacks both rich characters and compelling story, adding to an already bearish Broadway season.

Steven Pasquale leads a cast of 23 in Doug Hughesís sharply staged and designed production. Pasquale plays investment banker Robert Merkin, whoís made millions by using debt as a means to take over companies. As the play begins, heís plotting with Israel Peterman (Matthew Rauch) to wrest the business that for decades has been in the family of Thomas Everson Jr. (Rick Holmes) from him. Merkin is making a name for himself in the financial biz ó weíre told on more than one occasion that he was on the cover of Time magazine ó and over two and a half hours Akhtar introduces us to a plethora of characters, from an enterprising reporter (Teresa Avia Lim) to an ambitious prosecutor (Charlie Semine) and chronicles the worship of money for moneyís sake that drove the Ď80s financial sector and hasnít abated in the decades since.

Itís not so much that the characters are unsympathetic, itís that theyíre woefully underdeveloped. We only get a sense of who these people are in certain scenes, such as one where Merkin and Peterman look out over West Los Angeles and imagine how much it would cost to buy. Akhtar includes reasons for Merkinís endless greed ó the anti-Semitism that prevented his father from advancing ó but itís not enough to give this play or these characters much dimension.

Akhtar does have an insiderís knowledge of the Wall Street world, and Junk explains to those of us without MBAs the way a company takeover can happen. But weíve seen this saga play out in movies like Wall Street, and Akhtar doesnít deepen our understanding of these Lords of Greed.

By Diane Snyder

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Steven Pasquale, Ito Aghayere, Phillip James Brannon, Tony Carlin, Caroline Hewitt, Rick Holmes, Ted Koch, Teresa Avia Lim, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Nate Miller, Ethan Phillips, Matthew Rauch, Matthew Saldivar, Michael Siberry, Miriam Silverman, Joey Slotnick, Henry Stram

Open/Close Dates
Opening 11/2/2017
Closing 1/7/2018

Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 10/5/2017
Closing Open-ended

Box Office

Theatre Info
Vivian Beaumont Theater
150 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023