Featured Alumni: Ayad Akhtar ‘02SOA

Alumni Artist

Featured Alumni: Ayad Akhtar ‘02SOA

Ayad Aktar Returns to Broadway in the fall with 'Junk'

With the upcoming production of Ayad Akhtar ‘02SOA’s new play Junk, we reflect on the playwright and director’s award winning works and anticipate his sure to be incredible upcoming projects.

Akhtar, a Pakistani American playwright, novelist, screenwriter and actor, was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While attending Columbia School of the Arts, he got his start as an actor after he and classmates Tom Glynn and Joseph Castelo formed the idea for The War Within, a 2005 film about an ordinary man radicalized into becoming a terrorist. In 2011 he played Neel Kashkari in the HBO film Too Big to Fail before going on to write and direct plays. His plays The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand were on Off-Broadway and are currently being produced around the world. His masterful work, Disgraced, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. In 2015, CAA Arts Access was proud to host a special evening performance of Disgraced on Broadway followed by an exclusive talkback with the playwright.

Akhtar was listed as the most produced playwright for the 2015/16 Season by American Theatre magazine. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, Sundance Institute, Ucross, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is also a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop. Akhtar is currently the Resident Playwright with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater.

This fall, he will return to Broadway with his new play Junk: The Golden Age of Debt, an epic story about Wall Street in 1985. Junk takes us to the financial battlefield of Wall Street where titanic egos collide, where modern day kings are made and quickly unmade. Akhtar offers us an origin story for the world that finance; a sexy and epic thriller about an upstart genius hell-bent on changing all the rules. He challenges his audience to ask how did we get here? How did the world we once knew change?

Junk received its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in August 2016. It is scheduled to begin previews on September 14, 2017 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, produced in collaboration between Lincoln Center Theater and the Araca Group. Directed by Doug Hughes, the sets are by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Ben Stanton, and original music and sound by Mark Bennett. The cast will be announced at a later date.

Learn more about the play here.