Junk begins previews on October 5, 2017 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Vivian Beaumont Theatre, written by Ayad Akhtar.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright Returns for Second Broadway Play

junkOn October 5, 2017, Junk begins previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The show will have its official opening night on November 2, 2017, and is presently scheduled for an open-ended run. The show is produced by Lincoln Center Theater and arrangement with the Araca Group. This is Akhtar’s second play to be seen on Broadway. His first, Disgraced, had its New York premiere at Lincoln Center’s smallest venue, the Claire Tow Theater. Disgraced had previously had its world premiere at the American Theater Company in Chicago. When the play then went on to win the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, it was produced on London and also on Broadway, at the Lyceum Theatre, produced by arrangement with The Araca Group and Lincoln Center once again. In 2015, Disgraced won the Tony Award for Best Play. Therefore, Junk comes to Broadway with a highly anticipated backstory. Akhtar, still young at 46, is also an author; his book American Dervish was published in 2012, and won the Oprah Magazine Book of the Year award, the Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year award, and the Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year award. Finally, just this past week, Ayad Akhtar was awarded the 2017 Steinberg Playwright Award, a $50,000 prize given to rising American playwrights. That award was also presented to Lucas Hnath of A Doll’s House, Part 2.

An Examination of 1980s Wall Streetjunk

In Akhtar’s newest play, Junk, he examines the battle between the old money establishment of Wall Street, and the new wave of aggressive corporate raiders in the 1980s. Unlike his previous works, many of which center around Muslim characters, Junk explores the nature of identity from a completely different lens. Instead of focusing on religious faith, Akhtar turns his attention to faith in capitalism, and worship of money. While the play does not attempt to directly reference the present times in which we live, by situating itself in the 1980s, it offers palpable parallels to our current political and economic climate. When Junk had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in California, it was deemed “thrilling” and “dramatically enthralling” by the Los Angeles Times. Like his other works, Junk demonstrates an intense interest in the interplay between the personal and the economic or political in our society. The subtitle of Junk “The Golden Age of Debt,” used in the La Jolla Playhouse show, refers to the “junk bonds” that were so popular in the 1980s, the play puts corporate takeover under the spotlight.

Directed by Doug Hughes, Starring Steven Pasquale

In Junk, the lead role of Robert Merkin, a hotshot investment banker, is played by Steven Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County, Reasons to be Pretty). In addition, Pasquale has appeared on television in “Doubt,” “American Crime Story,” “Bloodline,” and “The Good Wife.” The play is directed by Doug Hughes, whose previous Broadway credits include The Father, Outside Mullingar, The Big Knife, An Enemy of the People, Born Yesterday, and Elling. Starring alongside Pasquale are Ito Aghayere (Broadway debut) as Jacqueline Blount, Phillip James Brannon (Broadway debut) as Kevin Walsh, Tony Carlin (Six Degrees of Separation) as Kurt and Corrigan Wiley, Caroline Hewitt (The Front Page) as Charlene Stewart and the Ghost Writer, Rick Holmes (The Visit) as Thomas Everson, and Ted Koch (Elling) as Mark O’Hare. These individuals join an ensemble of 17 to perform in a fast-paced thriller presented in three acts.