EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Steven Pasquale (Mark Fuhrman in FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson; soon to be recurring on HBO’s Divorce) will return to Broadway this fall as the lead in Ayad Akhtar’s new drama, Junk. Lincoln Center Theater is producing, by arrangement with The Araca Group.
Akhtar won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced, a charged drama about identity and politics in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Junk had its premiere last summer at the La Jolla Playhouse, where it was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “thrilling.” Doug Hughes (The Father, Doubt) reprises as director, The drama is slated to begin previews October 5 and open November 2 at LCT’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. The company describes the play this way:
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.
Junk is the story of Merkin’s assault on American capitalism’s holy of holies, the “deal of the decade,” his attempt to takeover an iconic American manufacturing company and, in the process, to change all the rules. What Merkin sets in motion is nothing less than a financial civil war, pitting magnates against workers, lawyers against journalists, and ultimately, pitting every one against themselves.
Set over thirty years ago, this is a play about how, while most of us weren’t watching, money became the only thing of real value.
In his L.A. Times review, critic Charles McNulty wrote, “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. The production, directed by Doug Hughes with the precision of a chess master, never loses steam as it moves from the boardroom to the bedroom to the backroom, where the most fateful deals are ultimately determined.”
Pasquale – who was extraordinary in recent productions of The Robber Bridegroom, off-Broadway, and The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway – will play the Henry Kravis-like takeover king Merkin. Prior to Junk, he’s set to appear as John Wilkes Booth in the Encores! Off-Center revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins in July.
Pasquale is represented by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.