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Michael Milligan's MERCY KILLERS Wins Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting's Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company has announced that Michael Milligan's Mercy Killers is the recipient of The Scotsman Fringe First Award at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Milligan's one-man play is inspired by America's horror stories of the uninsured, many of whom suffer financial tragedies on top of chronic illnesses. The festival performance featured the debut of Mercy Killers outside of the U.S.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland's capital city. The prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Awards celebrate the best new writing at the festival, as judged by the team of critics from Scotland's national newspaper, The Scotsman.

Over 60% of all bankruptcies in the U.S. are the result of medical debt. "What most people don't realize is that in the majority of those bankruptcies, the person involved actually had insurance at the onset of their health crisis," says Milligan. "Mercy Killers is my attempt to translate those statistics into the actual human experience indicated by those numbers."

The play explores these themes through Joe, a man being interrogated by the police over the death of his terminally ill wife. A red-blooded American man, Joe is sympathetic to the Tea Party and the libertarian convictions of self-reliance and the free market. However, when his cancer-stricken wife has her health insurance revoked and they become trapped in the labyrinth of the health care system, Joe's faith in the American Dream is put to the test when he is driven to make a fateful act.

Milligan has appeared on several Broadway shows including August: Osage County, La Bete, and JerusalemWhile studying at Juilliard he won the John Houseman Prize for excellence in classical drama. A reading of his verse play, Phaeton, featured Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumley. He has previously received Four Stars for his performance of Lanford Wilson's one-man show, Poster of the Cosmos, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Milligan can be seen in New York City on September 19 at the Lucille Lortel Theater, where he will take part in a conversation about writing and performing in one-man shows. He will be joined by poet, spoken word artist and actor Lemon Andersen.

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