Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Working Theater and the Harold Clurman Lab Theater Present Michael Milligan’s Mercy Killers Off-Broadway through February 16, 2014

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

“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 in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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).

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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 info@theworkingtheater.org. The running time is 65-minutes without intermission. Due to mature content, patrons under the age of 13 will not be admitted.

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Other articles on Working Theater:

Photos: Working Theater’s World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta through May 12, 2013
Working Theater in Collaboration with Magnum Foundation Present World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta, April 10 – May 12, 2013
Working Theater presents The Best of TheaterWorks!: Stories from the 99%, at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
Working Theater presents The Poetry of Philip Levine with Jeffrey Eugenides, André De Shields, Gene Gillette and Lisa Ramirez on May 7
Photos: Working Theater’s Production of Rob Ackerman’s CALL ME WALDO at Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
Papermag.com: An Emerson-Loving Electrician Takes the Stage in Call Me Waldo
1199SEIU President George Gresham to receive Labor Leadership Award at 2011 Working Theater Annual Awards Ceremony
André De Shields & Alison Fraser Star in Reading of Michael Aman’s The Unbleached American at Theater Row on 5/9
Working Theater Presents Staged Reading of Chay Yew’s Visible Cities at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row
Photos:The Working Theater’s Off-Broadway production of HONEY BROWN EYES by Stefanie Zadravec at The Clurman
Lia Chang Photo Slideshows of Productions in the Working Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season
Multimedia: Photos of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s American Jornalero at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
Photos of André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance
Achieving the American Dream, Professional Charmer Andre De Shields Sees Theater is a Way to Life

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Asian CineVision Auction Items Feature Producer Janet Yang, Kung Fu Playwright David Henry Hwang or a 4 Hour Photography Session with Lia Chang
André De Shields to receive 2014 Making Waves Award; will perform “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” at Florida Atlantic University
Photos: The Condescending Liberals at The Parkside Lounge
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Phoebe Strole, Jon Rua, Join Cole Horibe and More for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Jan. 31: Spend an Evening with Pauletta Pearson Washington at Joe’s Pub
2014 is the Year of the Horse, Dragons and Lions in The Chinese New Year Parade
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Jan. 22-31: Photos: Tracey Conyer Lee, Lelund Durond Thompson, Matthew Murumba, and Carmen LoBue set for Camile Darby’s Lords Resistance Featured in The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Thom Sesma and Michele Ragusa to Star in CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Jarlath Conroy, Rebecca Brooksher, Eric Martin Brown, Ryan Garbayo, Rocco Sisto, Nick Westrate Set for Red Bull’s Off-Broadway Revival of Loot
Peter Scolari, C.J. Wilson, Francois Battiste, Chris Henry Coffey and More in Eric Simonson’s The Bronx Bombers at Circle in the Square Theatre Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, André De Shields, Sandra Marquez, Dennis Zacek and More Celebrate Opening Night of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Victory Gardens
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72
Photos: Denise Burse, Michael Genet, Doug Eskew, Tracie Thoms, Sakina Ansari-Wilson and More Celebrate Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts Opening Night at Center Stage
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre Febone1960.net Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party Meet the authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac, Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith, Museworks, Ltd.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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