Working Theater, in its 29th season off-Broadway, in collaboration with the Harold Clurman Lab Theater, is presenting MERCY KILLERS, a piercing perspective on healthcare reform in the United States, written and brilliantly performed by Michael Milligan.
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.
Milligan’s raw and heartwrenching tour-de-force performance as Joe, under the taut direction of helmer Tom Oppenheim, began off-Broadway premiere preview performances on January 7th at the Stella Adler Studio’s Theater 2B, 31 West 27th Street in New York, and will open tonight, Wednesday, January 15th. The production 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.
“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.”
Michael 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).
Community partner venues include the Bronx United Federation of Teachers (Bronx) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Queens).
The performance schedule for MERCY KILLERS is January 7th through February 16th, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00PM with Saturday matinees at 2PM and Sunday matinees at 3:00PM.
Tickets are $25 (General Admission) and $23 (Students/Seniors/Union Members) and may be purchased in advance at www.smarttix.com or by calling 212-868-4444. For group rates, contact email@example.com. The running time is 65-minutes without intermission. Due to mature content, patrons under the age of 13 will not be admitted.
THE HAROLD CLURMAN LABORATORY THEATER COMPANY is the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s professional theater company. The Lab aims to produce socially relevant theater committed to the standards and ideals set out by Stella Adler, Harold Clurman and the Group Theater. Select production history: Mercy Killers by Michael Milligan (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, Fringe First Award), Lebensraum by Israel Horovitz (off-Broadway), Long Way Go Down by Zayd Dohrn (East Coast premiere), Our Town by Thornton Wilder, What Shall I Give My Children? by Don K. Williams (world premiere), Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The Lab recently made its Los Angeles debut with Clifford Odets’ Waiting for Lefty at the Art of Acting Studio and with a special performance at Occupy LA.
WORKING THEATER (CO-PRODUCER). Now in its 29th season, Working Theater is New York’s only professional Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to producing plays for and about the working men and women of New York. Past productions include Ed Cardona Jr.’s site-specific play about immigration reform, La Ruta, performed inside a real 48’ truck; Lisa Ramirez’s play about nannies, Exit Cuckoo, directed by Colman Domingo; Roberto Aguirre Sacasa’s King Of Shadows; Annie Wiesman’s Hold Please; Israel Horovitz’s Henry Lumper, Rob Ackerman’s Table Top; Stefanie Zadravec’s Honey Brown Eyes and many others. For more information, visit www.theworkingtheater.org.
LISTINGS/CALENDAR INFORMATION || DATES & LOCATIONS FOR MERCY KILLERS:
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Monday – Friday 7:30 pm | Saturday 2.00pm & 7:30 pm | Sunday 3.00pm
MANHATTAN: Tue 1/7/14 – Sun 2/2/14 at the Stella Adler Studio’s Theater 2B, 31 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor
BRONX: Wed 2/5/14 – Sun 2/9/14* at UFT Bronx, 2500 Halsey Street, Bronx
QUEENS: Tue 2/11/14 – Sun 2/16/14* IBEW Local 3, 158-11 Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Avenue, Flushing
*Dates subject to change, please visit smarttix.com to confirm available performances
TICKETS $25 through www.smarttix.com – 212-868-4444
Students/ Seniors/ Union Members with ID: $23
Student rush – $15 at door
Stella Adler Studio of Acting Students (with ID) – $10
Group rates available up to 30% off! For info call 212-244-3300
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