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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Mercy Killers comes to Folsom at the Harris Center

Sep 16, 2015 09:33AM ● Published by David Norby

Mercy Killers is in the tradition of American playwrights from Arthur Miller and Clifford Odets, to Tony Kushner and Anna Deavere Smith, in capturing political and social reality in powerful story and unforgettable character. “Over 60% of all bankruptcies in the U.S. are the result of medical debt. What most people don’t realize is that the majority of those bankruptcies, the person involved actually had insurance at the onset of their health crises,” says Milligan. This discovery led him to collect stories from people suffering financial disaster on top of chronic illnesses.

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers takes place on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm; Friday, October 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm; and Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 2 and 7:30 pm. Tickets are priced at $25-29; Students with ID $12. Tickets are available online at or from the Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from noon to 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, CA, facing East Bidwell Street.

After hearing many horror stories from victims about the growing dysfunction of the American health care system, Milligan worked to put a human face on what he believed was a national tragedy. Joe is a blue-collar mechanic with a red-state perspective. A staunch believer in the American way of life, he prizes hard work, self-reliance, and personal liberty. He is deeply in love with his wife and even enjoys their “nuclear” arguments on the dangers of too much Rush Limbaugh and not enough organic foods. Everything changes when she is diagnosed with cancer. Mercy Killers is an emotional journey of a man who fights for his wife’s life using every resource, personal and otherwise, he can muster. Caught in a life and death struggle with the health care system, Joe finds the bedrock of his life, marriage and self-identity shifting under him. “I have spent a couple of years now with ‘Joe’,” says Milligan, “listening, arguing, and contending about what it means to be an American.”

The production is in league with some big names fighting for equitable health care access including Campaign for a Healthy California and Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). At a time when Obamacare is broiled in heated national debate, and 2017 marking when California and other U.S. states will be implementing their own health care plans, there has never been a more distinct need for a show like this to keep the conversation focused on what really matters- the health of the people. Milligan was inspired to write the show because of his experience with not being able to get health care in dire times, not only for himself, but seeing it affect those he loved, prompted an in depth and critical theatrical illustration of a broken system that has the promise and potential of being fixed.

Michael Milligan has been writing and acting for the theater for almost two decades. Milligan has appeared on the Broadway stage as Little Charles in August: Osage County, De Bries in La Bete, and as a ‘raver’ and understudy in Jerusalem. No stranger to the one man show, Milligan performed Will Eno’s Thom Pain in the original New York run. Other New York credits include The Golem with Robert Prosky, the world premiere of The Empty Ocean with Harold Clurman Theater Lab, and Nightlands with New Georges. He also received 4 Stars for his performance of Lanford Wilson’s one man show, Poster of the Cosmos, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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, Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, the Utah, Alabama, Illinois, Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, Milwaukee Shakes, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, and New Jersey Shakespeare in roles as diverse as Hamlet, Mercutio, Romeo, Angelo, Cassio, Dromio, Lucentio, Antipholus, Mark Antony, Edgar, Orlando, as well as many spear carriers and various shrubbery movers. Milligan is a sometime instructor of Shakespeare at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Fifth Anniversary Season of Great Shows. Up Close. In Folsom! 

Now in its Fifth Anniversary Season, the Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College brings the community together to share in cultural experiences featuring the work of artists from throughout the region and around the world.  Built and operated by the Los Rios Community College District, the $50 million, state-of-the-art regional performing arts center boasts three intimate venues with outstanding acoustics, an art gallery, a recording studio, elegant teaching spaces, plenty of safe parking and all the other amenities of a world-class performing arts venue.  Each year the Center hosts over 400 events attracting more than 150,000 annually.  

Michael Milligan in Mercy Killers

Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm; 
Friday, October 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm;
Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 2 and 7:30 pm
Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College
10 College Parkway Folsom, CA 95630
Ticket Price: $25-$29; Students with ID $12

Tickets are available online at or from Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from noon to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time.

Photo and information courtesy of the Harris Center.

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