For those of you who know me well, you know that finance and accounting were definitely my least favorite courses in college (right there with science…chemistry lab was the absolute worst EVER). The only way I was not late for my 7:50 AM accounting class was because the teacher would take 10 points off our grade every single time we were tardy and because my roommate Vicki and I took the class together and would struggle to get each other there on time (usually barely out of our pajamas).
How in the world are my accounting struggles relevant to my blog? I recently saw Junk at the Milwaukee Rep which was all about junk bonds and the financial world of the 1980s. Although the topic wasn’t one of my absolute favorites of all time, there were many theatrical elements I thoroughly enjoyed about the production.
I’m a bit delayed in getting this post up so the show has since closed. This show had a short run in the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater from January 15 – February 17 and unfortunately many of its performances were impacted by the terrible weather we experienced in Milwaukee during this time. Regardless, I still wanted to share some brief thoughts in the event any of my readers have the opportunity to see this production in the future.
My favorite things about this production were the script, the high-caliber acting, and the use of technology to turn this simple, grey stage into a marvelous and diverse set in a mere matter of seconds. This show was written by Milwaukee native and Pulitzer Prize-winner Ayad Akhtar this script was phenomenal. Although some of the concepts a bit over my head, I felt exactly like I was in the 1980s inner circle of financial gurus. The script coupled with the high-caliber acting from one of the largest casts to ever dominate the Quadracci’s stage I was drawn into the workings of this performance.
The set for this production was amazing although you would think it was bland if you passed judgment on the initial backdrop you saw when walking into the theater. Set on a grey backdrop you weren’t looking at a colorless abyss for long. With the use of projections and period music, you were taken from location to location in a matter of mere seconds. With minimal props and furnishings, this show kept moving right along.
My husband, Tyler, LOVED this production and it was by far his favorite of the shows we have seen together at the Rep this season. He thought the script was extremely well-written, the show extremely well cast, and the topic very interesting. If you have the opportunity to see this production in the future, you should definitely check it out. It was a very different show from those we’ve seen this season and it fit perfectly into the Rep’s theme of wealth and power for this 65th season.
Want to see what I meant about the set? Check out these photos below for a glimpse into Junk!
📸Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow