Junk by Ayad Akhtar '02 Headed for Broadway
February 15, 2017
Film alumnus Ayad Akhtar ‘02, best known for his Pulitzer prize-winning play Disgraced, will return to Broadway with his new play Junk in the fall. Junk, which had its premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse last summer, is an epic story about Wall Street in 1985.
“It’s a story of the transformation of the American economy to an economy where things don’t make money; money makes money,” Akhtar told the New York Times. “The play is an attempt at a kind of Shakespearean history, taking events that are part of our national consciousness and transforming them.”
Akhtar attributes part of the inspiration for the play to an agreement he made with his parents when he was starting out as a writer: if they would help him cover rent for a while, he would read the Wall Street Journal every day. The ensuing knowledge of finance influenced his previous play, The Invisible Hand, which tells the story of a Citibank employee held hostage by Islamic militants. In Junk, Akhtar expands on that interest in economics to bring Wall Street traders and junk bonds front and center.
“If this topic seems more suitable for a CNBC investigation than a stage play, let me assure you that Akhtar’s handling — brisk, lucid and at times highly suspenseful — is dramatically enthralling,” wrote the Los Angeles Times of the La Jolla production. “What’s most impressive about Junk is the brilliant way Akhtar crunches the social, political and economic data of this greedy new world, a precursor to the way we live today. The play ensnares you with the reach and penetration of its thinking.”
Junk is scheduled to begin previews on Sept. 14 at the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center, produced in collaboration between Lincoln Center Theater and the Araca Group.