Private equity types will find familiar terminology—"multiples of investment," "performance quartiles"—in Dry Powder, a new Off Broadway play that is perhaps the first to set a buyout firm as its milieu. They may also, uncomfortably, recognize the parties.

As far as its portrayal of the actual workings of a private equity firm, they will undoubtedly say Dry Powder plays on caricatures and stereotypes more than reality. But they will probably find themselves laughing at the play’s quick-fire gallows humor as it tackles the industry's biggest perennial issue: whether buyouts benefit companies and the economy or are simply financial maneuvers executed at the expense of workers and others. In an election year with Wall Street on the hot seat, the play is topical, to say the least.

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