Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Dry Powder

by Sarah Burgess

“Frighteningly funny . . . [a] timely play.” —Marilyn Stasio, Variety

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date January 03, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-8981-3

About the Book

The same week his private equity firm forced massive layoffs at a national grocery chain, Rick threw himself an extravagant engagement party, setting off a publicity nightmare. Fortunately, Seth, one of Rick’s partners, has a win-win deal to invest in an American-made luggage company for a song and rescue his boss from a PR disaster. But Jenny, Seth’s counterpart, has an entirely different plan: to squeeze every last penny out of the company, no matter the consequences. The game is on in Sarah Burgess’ gripping, razor-sharp new play about the price of success and the real cost of getting the deal done.

Dry Powder was originally performed in March 2016 at Public Theater in New York, helmed by Hamilton director Thomas Kail and featuring an all-star cast. The play was an instant on-stage success and is the first production written by this preternaturally gifted playwright.


“A vicious if coolly rendered comedy about ruthlessness and greed in the world of high finance . . . Announce[s] the arrival of a writer with a gift for razor-sharp dialogue, shifting power dynamics, and loaded showdowns, not to mention an acid wit and a not entirely sunny view of human nature and 21st-century capitalism.”—Vogue

“[A] lacerating dark comedy . . . Burgess conveys not just the language of the high-stakes game she depicts—financial jargon is woven nimbly into the snappy dialogue—but also the differing mindsets of its players . . . The play makes sharp points . . . Dry Powder feels extraordinarily timely. It’s a play every oligarch should see.” —Time Out New York

“Calling all Bernie Sanders fans. There’s a pageant of red meat for you . . . A slick drama set in sleek boardrooms . . . addressing the hot-button topics of income inequality and the collapse of American manufacturing . . . Ms. Burgess’s grasp of the jargon of high finance is impressive.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times

“Frighteningly funny . . . [a] timely play.” —Marilyn Stasio, Variety

“[A] tremendously entertaining, swift as lightning new play . . . Burgess is operating in the same biting, darkly comic key as Adam McKay’s recent film The Big Short, forcing us to alternately identify with and recoil in horror at these soulless capitalists willing to do anything to increase profit margins. Dry Powder is a comedy meant to make you a little sick to your stomach . . . Burgess has a fine ear for the clubby patois of business people and their sometimes outsized views of themselves . . . Dry Powder races to a wry, note-perfect conclusion.” —NJ.com

“Burgess writes smart dialogue that crackles . . . There are echoes of Caryl Churchill and David Hare in the theme of corporate dehumanization, though Burgess, like David Mamet, say, is more focused on the soulless principals than on the folks who will suffer the consequences of their actions.” —Deadline

“Slick, timely . . . [a] fast-paced script. It could be a companion piece to The Big Short. The play’s talk of leveraged buyouts and business lingo . . . is ever accessible.” —New York Daily News

“[A] smart look at finance . . . Burgess deserves a lot of credit for tackling the subject.” —AM New York

“Riveting . . . the play [has] a kind of presentational Greek quality, not unlike, from the other side of the political spectrum, David Mamet’s China Doll . . . A fully engrossing and entertaining play . . . terrific dialogue.” —Vulture

“Hot on the heels of the unlikely Hollywood hit The Big Short comes another Wall Street-centric story that would make Bernie Sanders choke on his stump speech: Sarah Burgess’ Dry Powder . . . a curiously fascinating behind-the-numbers peek inside a New York private equity firm. You don’t have to work at a big bank to get sucked into Burgess’ story.” —EW.com

“Private equity types will . . . probably find themselves laughing at the play’s quick-fire gallows humor as it tackles the industry’s biggest perennial issue . . . In an election year with Wall Street on the hot seat, the play is topical, to say the least . . . Dry Powder has a solid grip on the nitty-gritty of buyouts . . . It is hard to say that those working in the industry will like the conclusions playwright Sarah Burgess reaches about their chosen field and the personalities who inhabit it . . . That is not to say they won’t be entertained.” —Bloomberg