It’s a curtain call for Ayad Akhtar’s new play “Junk”. Produced by Lincoln Center Theater, the play premiered on Broadway on October 5, 2017. Marking another creative turn for the Pulitzer Prize winner, with “Junk” Akhtar plunges his pen deep into soul of the 80s’ Wall Street. He once again delves into the issue of identity crisis, examining in detail culture and faith. Directed by Doug Hughes, John Lee Beatty is the set designer, whereas the costumes are by Catherine Zuber. Mark Bennett has given the play its original music and sound. The previews have started at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and an official opening has been announced for November 2. The advance sales of Junk tickets have already begun and the show is looking forward to a stellar Broadway run.
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Ayad Akhtar Returns to Broadway with a Second Show
Akhtar has been called a brilliant voice in the theater world and rightly so. His first Broadway play “Disgraced” was praised as an intellectually intriguing effort. Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Ayad Akhtar gives his characters a strong voice and powerful personality, a contrast to his own soft-spoken demeanor.
“Junk” has come to the stage with an interesting backstory. Broadway veteran Steven Pasquale takes up the role of Robert Merkin, a hotshot investment banker. Unlike all his other plays, this one doesn’t have any Muslim character.
Robert Merkin got famous for stating that “debt is an asset” and his attempt to take over a famous American company landed him on Times Magazine front cover (1985). Changing investment rules, he was both lauded and criticized for creating a financial civil war that pit people against each other.
Ayad has shifted his focus from religion to faith in capitalism and the new wave in 80s that brought forth aggressive corporate raiders. Steven Pasquale impressed the critics with his Off-Broadway performance in “The Robber Bridegroom” and Broadway’s “The Bridges of Madison County”. The previews already suggest a powerful performance by him, for which he’s likely to earn laurels.
Starring alongside him are Ito Aghayere as Jacqueline Blount and Phillip James Brannon as Kevin Walsh – both the actors making their Broadway debut. Tony Carlin of “Six Degrees of Separation” fame stars as Kurt and Rick Holmes of “The Visit” as Thomas Everson. An ensemble of 17 will hit the stage to perform this fast-paced thriller that’s divided into three acts.
Ayad Akhtar – A Decorated Playwright
If anyone can give a topic like Wall Street and finance a lucid and brisk treatment that’s highly dramatic and enthralling, it’s Ayad Akhtar. Winner of multiple prestigious awards including a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Disgraced” (2013), Akhtar’s acute awareness of splendor is what makes him such a brilliant writer.
Seized by religious fervor at a young age, he explored Islam and with time became quite passionate about the religion. It became the basis for his writing and his fans made the most of his creative barrage – they got to enjoy both quality and volume of work.
Muslims became his central characters and through emotional as well as comic presentation, he explored the religion. Akhtar’s intellect and fast-twitch style has allowed to him to explore various subjects. His direct approach doesn’t beat around the bush and as one critic said, “His work is all lean muscle and tension”.
“Junk” is dark, humorous, fast and cutthroat. His ability to showcase an ethnic mix in his script has allowed him to have a diverse following. He’s able to dwell in different worlds and each is unbiased and detailed.
Don’t wait for anyone else’s verdict – buy Junk tickets yourself to see what makes Ayad Akhtar so brilliant.