Mercy Killers; Zoellner Guest Artist – Course Connections

Last year, the Zoellner Arts Center facilitated an opportunity for students, faculty and program directors to gather for reflection and insight on the theme of “Beauty” with the Jane Comfort Dance Company. This season, Zoellner is presenting more performing arts experiences with the intention of inspiring reflection and dialog on themes that cross multiple academic disciplines. The first of these presentations is the one-man show, Mercy Killers.

Michael Milligan Residency

Wed-Friday; September 10-12, 2014


The Story

Blue collar ‘Joe’ grapples with his red state ideals when he realizes the measures he must take to care for his beloved wife.  A surprisingly tender lover story, Mercy Killers is an unblinking look at health care in America.

Planning Details:

Tickets are $10 (for public) and free to all Lehigh students, faculty and staff for both performances.

  • Thursday, Sept 11that 4:30pm
  • Friday, September 12that 7:30pm

The play is quite intimate, with audience seating on the stage. It is a one act; 65 minutes running time. Following each performance, a Q&A session with Lehigh faculty in other academic disciplines from the Health Medicine and Society program.


“Mercy Killers makes public the suffering that thousands of American families experience in private. I was inspired by the performance, and energized to move our state from health insurance for some to health care for all.” – John Marty, State Senator, MN

“Mercy Killers reveals the barbarity of it all through the story of Joe, a man who was ‘all about the American dream’ until the system hits, hits, and hits again. A deeply affecting love story, Mike Milligan astonishes.”  – Connie Julian, Revolution Books

“Michael Milligan’s breathtaking performance of a shattered man in the throws of a healthcare nightmare, made only worse by the twists and turns of insurance companies, truly humanizes the vast inequities of America’s for-profit health insurance system. You will be talking about Mercy Killers long after the curtain draws.” – Josh Starcher, Healthcare-Now! NYC

About the playwright/Actor 

Milligan has been writing and acting for the theater for almost two decades.  He has appeared on Broadway in August Osage County, La Bete and Jerusalem.  No stranger to the one man show, Milligan performed Will Eno’s title role of Thom Pain in the original New York run.  A reading of Milligan’s verse play, Phaeton, was presented by the Harold Clurman Theater Lab featuring Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumley.  Milligan received his training from Julliard where he won the John Houseman Prize for excellence in classical drama.  He has performed Shakespearean roles around the world and is a sometime instructor of Shakespeare at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

We are planning an Acting/Playwriting workshop with Michael following the Thursday afternoon performance and after a dinner break. There are also open times available in his residency schedule for classroom visits on Friday morning and afternoon. If you have any interest in Mr. Mulligan meet with your class; even if outside your scheduled class meeting time, we’d be happy to arrange it. Please forward all inquiries to Silagh White by email