Working Theater to Present Michael Milligan's MERCY KILLERS, Begin. 1/7
Working Theater, in its 29th season off-Broadway, will in collaboration with the Harold Clurman Lab Theater, offer a piercing perspective on healthcare reform in the United States, with MERCY KILLERS, written and performed by Michael Milligan. The play, directed by Tom Oppenheim will make its off-Broadway premiere on January 7th at the Stella Adler Studio's Theater 2B, 31 West 27th Street. The production will have its official opening on January 15th and will be performed in various communities throughout New York City in order to directly realize Working Theater's mission to bring theater to communities where working people live.
Joe loves apple pie, Rush Limbaugh and his wife, Jane. He is blue-collar, made in the USA and proud, but when his wife gets sick and loses her insurance, his patriotic feelings are turned upside down. In MERCY KILLERS, a new one-man play, Joe struggles with the uniquely American experience of losing your health in the land of plenty.
"In the same way that La Ruta explored the personal experiences behind the national debate on immigration reform, Mercy Killers tells a highly emotional story of a proudly American working-class guy whose life is shattered when his wife gets sick and loses her health insurance," says Working Theater's Producing Artistic Director Mark Plesent. "It looks beyond the current political debate and is a compassionate reminder of the urgent need for fundamental healthcare reform in this country. What is most compelling to me about Mercy Killers, though, is the astonishingly honest story telling and the emotional wallop of Mike Milligan's writing and performance."
"Mercy Killers fulfills all my hopes and dreams for the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company, but beyond that, for the American Theater at large. Brilliantly written and powerfully performed it recapitulates all the virtues of the Group Theater. Michael gives us not art for art's sake, but art for humanity's sake," explains Director Tom Oppenheim.
Milligan is a performer who has been writing and acting for the theater for over two decades. He has appeared on the Broadway stage as Little Charles in August: Osage County, De Bries in La Bete, and as a 'raver' and understudy on Jerusalem. Off-Broadway credits include Will Eno's Thom Pain and The Golem with Robert Prosky. Other New York credits include the world premiere of The Empty Ocean with Harold Clurman Theater Lab, and Nightlands with New Georges. Milligan has performed his one man show, Mercy Killers, around the U.S. in places such as Columbus, Cleveland, Albany, Athens, Toledo, Minneapolis, Duluth, Los Angeles, Nevada City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Charlottesville, Dayton, Rochester, Mankato, San Diego, Sacramento, Philadelphia and more in a variety of settings including professional theatres, student unions, union halls, doctors' homes, and the House of Representatives Hearing Room for members of the Minnesota legislature. Mercy Killers received a 2013 Fringe First Award during its recent run at the Edinburgh Festival- the performance also garnered a rare 5 star review from the Scotsman. Milligan received his training from Juilliard where he won the John Houseman Prize for excellence in classical drama. His love of Shakespeare has taken him around the world performing the bard for the Shakespeare Theater, Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare and Company, Cincinatti Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, the Utah, Alabama, Illinois, Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, Milwaukee Shakes, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, and New Jersey Shakespeare. He has also appeared at many of the nation's top regional theaters including the Guthrie, Westport Country Playhouse, Charlotte Rep, The McCarter Theater, and Folger Theatre in Washington D.C.
Director Tom Oppenheim's directorial credits include Mercy Killers (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, Fringe First Award), A Bright Room Called Day (off-Broadway), Two Rooms, What Shall I Give My Children?, Our Town, Songs & Statues, As You Like It (with Steve Cook), and Imagining Heschel all for the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company. Acting credits include the title role in Shakespeare's Macbeth as well as Michael in Buzz McLaughlin's Sister Calling My Name, both with the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company; Othello (Iago) for Jambalaya; Henry IV, Part 1 and Macbeth at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Henry VI, Part I, II, III at Theater for a New Audience, Juana Queen of Spain at EST, Bound East for Cardiff at The Provincetown Playhouse, Romeo and Juliet at the Mint Theater, Comparing Books at the Producer's Club. Film credits include, Mike Nichols' Wolf, Art Jones' Going Nomad, and Dodgeball, Deborah Kampmeirer's Virgin and Hound Dog. TV credits include Sydney Lumet's TV series, 100 Center Street. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory and with his grandmother, Stella Adler. Tom is the Artistic Director of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting where he formed the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company, which since its inception in 2002, has presented over twenty productions including eleven world premieres. Tom co-edited The Muses Go To School (New Press 2012) and his writing is featured in Arthur Bartow's Training of the American Actor (TCG, 2006).