Gallagher Bluedorn to host End-Of-Life Summit in conjunction with one-man play on healthcare

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center will host a one-day summit to provide community conversations between medical professionals, social workers and the general public as they explore and share experiences with end-of-life care. This summit will be held Saturday, March 24, in conjunction with the one-man play, "Mercy Killers," written and performed by Michael Milligan. The free workshop will offer continuing education credit.

"Mercy Killers" looks at the behemoth of the American healthcare system from the vantage point of an average working "Joe." "Mercy Killers" is an unflinching look at the recent past and possible near future of healthcare in America.

Written in the tradition of American playwrights, from Arthur Miller and Clifford Odets to Tony Kutchner 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," says Milligan. "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." This discovery led him to collect stories from people suffering financial disaster on top of chronic illnesses. After hearing many horror stories of victims of the growing dysfunction of the American healthcare 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.

"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 healthcare system, Joe finds the bedrock of his life, marriage and self-identity shifting under him.

"In our polarized culture,” Milligan says, “we tend to vilify one another or, rather, we accept too easily the vilification served by the beneficiaries of a divided populous. My experience acting and interacting with audiences around the country has taught me that we as a people are much more than the two dimensional caricatures our political masters would like us to be."

The deadline to register for the summit is Thursday, March 15.  Find more information on the summit and how to register at Tickets can be purchased for "Mercy Killers" online at, by phone at 1-877-549-7469 and at all UNItix box locations.

For more information, contact Amy Hunzelman at or by calling 319-273-3660. 


Blake Argotsinger, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 319-273-3660,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761,