“UNEARTHING THE ROLE OF GAY BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICAN HISTORY IS A CRUCIAL PROPOSITION. I WAS MOVED BY MR. LOVE’S WILLINGNESS TO IMAGINE OTHER KINDS OF LIVES THAN THE ONES THAT HISTORY BOOKS OFFER! EMBODIED BY THE FINE PERFORMERS HERE, THOSE LIVES REALLY DO SEEM ALIVE. KHRIS DAVIS IS EXHILARATING & HEARTBREAKING. THE LANGUAGE IS RICH & FASCINATING.”
— Jesse Green, The New York Times
“DEWANDA WISE GIVES AN ELECTRICALLY CHARGED PERFORMANCE. HER BODY CONTAINS A WHOLE HISTORY OF LIFE BEFORE WALLS, BEFORE CAGES, BEFORE DEPENDENCE. THIS IS LANGUAGE AS LUSH CATHARSIS, LANGUAGE AS EMPOWERMENT. IT FEELS LIKE GOING TO CHURCH.”
— Sara Holdren, New York Magazine
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World Premiere Play
Written by DONJA R. LOVE
Directed by SAHEEM ALI
Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street
Run time: approximately 90 minutes without an intermission
Somewhere in the Jim Crow South, the sky is on fire. A pregnant Olivia’s fierce speech writing is the sole force behind her charismatic husband Charles and his successful Movement to galvanize people to march towards freedom. When four little girls are bombed in a church, Olivia and Charles’ marriage is threatened – as this tragedy and years of civil unrest leave Olivia believing that “this world ain’t no place to raise a colored child.”
Fireflies is a startling world premiere by Donja R. Love, and the second part of a trilogy beginning with Sugar in Our Wounds (Manhattan Theatre Club). Saheem Ali (Sugar in Our Wounds) directs.
“BOTH WISE AND DAVIS GIVE GROUNDED, HEARTBREAKING PERFORMANCES!”
— New Yorker
“A JAW-DROPPING & EXPLOSIVELY DRAMATIC TWO-HANDER. A POWERFUL TALE OF LOVE FLASHING ITS LIGHT IN THE DARK. DONJA R. LOVE THRILLINGLY CRAFTS AN INTIMATE STORY THAT COMES TO FEEL COSMIC IN ITS ENORMITY BY THE END.”
— Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
“A RESOLUTE CRY FROM HISTORY AIMED SQUARELY AT THOSE IN THE PRESENT. THE AUDIENCE CHEERED & APPLAUDED, BOTH FOR WHAT WAS SAID AND WHO WAS SAYING IT.”
— Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast
“YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS FIREFLIES.”
— David Hurst, Talkin’ Broadway
— David Finkle, New York Stage Review
“FIREFLIES REDEFINES LOVE AND HOPE. THIS IS NOT AN EVERYMAN’S TALE. THIS IS A TALE THAT NEEDS TO NE HEARD.”
— David Roberts, Theatre Reviews Limited
“LOVELY AND LYRICAL, FIREFLIES IS DISARMINGLY POWERFUL. IT’S THE KIND OF PLAY THAT STAYS WITH YOU AFTER THE CURTAIN GOES DOWN.”
— Michael Bracken, Theater Pizzazz
Production photos by Ahron R. Foster.
Fireflies is a recipient of a 2018 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
KHRIS DAVIS (Charles) can currently be seen on FX’s hit show “Atlanta.” Khris appeared in Lynn Nottage and Kate Whoriskey’s Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Sweat and the independent feature Summer Night, produced by James Ponsoldt and directed by Joseph Cross. Khris recently wrapped filming on the lead role in Sam De Jong’s Goldie for Vice Films. Khris made his New York stage debut in The Royale by Marco Ramirez, a star-making showcase for Khris’ incredibly physical and emotional performance. Loosely based on the life of Jack Johnson, Khris played a charismatic boxer with a burning desire to become the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world. For his performance, Khris received a Clive Barnes Award, an Obie Award, and a Theatre World Award for Best Actor.
DEWANDA WISE (Olivia) appears as ‘Nola Darling’ in the Netflix adaption of “She’s Gotta Have It.” Following its season one release in 2017, the series received an AAFCA award as one of the “Top 10 Television Shows.” The second season is set to premiere next year. Other television credits include “Shots Fired,” “Underground,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and “The Good Wife,” among others. In film, Wise can be seen next in The Weekend, opposite Sasheer Zamata and Tone Bell, which is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Recently, Wise completed production in the Netflix Original, “Someone Great,” starring opposite Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, Lakeith Stanfield, and Rosario Dawson, which is set to premiere next year. Additional film credits include How to Tell You’re a Douchbag, in which Wise starred in and executive produced, Spinning into Butter, and Precious, among others. In 2016, Wise ventured into screenwriting and wrote the short-film, “Where You Go,” which premiered at Cannes. Previous stage credits include Sunset Baby, Race, Flight, and In the Continuum. Wise graduated with honors as a BFA Representative from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was a recipient of the Scholar Award as well as the Atlantic Achievement in Studio Award.
DONJA R. LOVE (Playwright) is an Afro-Queer playwright, poet, and filmmaker from Philadelphia. He’s the recipient of the 2018 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, the 2017 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellow, a Eugene O’ Neill 2018/2017 National Playwrights Conference finalist, The Lark’s 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow, The Playwrights Realm’s 2016-2017 Writing Fellow, the 2016 Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Award recipient, and the 2011 Philadelphia Adult Grand Slam Poetry Champion. His work has been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Rising Circle Theatre, The Lark, and The Playwrights Realm. He’s the co-founder of The Each-Other Project, an organization that helps build community and provide visibility, through art and advocacy, for LGBTQ People of Color. Select stage plays include: a trilogy which explores Queer Love* during pivotal moments in Black History, The Love* Plays (Sugar in Our Wounds; Fireflies; In The Middle), and soft. Select film work: Modern Day Black Gay (web series), and Once A Star (short film). Training: Juilliard, Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program.
SAHEEM ALI (Director). Proud immigrant from Kenya. Recent credits include Dangerous House (Williamstown Theater Festival), Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC), Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown), Tartuffe (Playmakers Rep), Henry V (NYU Tisch), Twelfth Night (Public Theater), Kill Move Paradise (National Black Theater), Diaspora (Gym at Judson), Nollywood Dreams (Cherry Lane), The Booty Call (Inner Voices) and Dot (Detroit Public Theater). He has workshopped new plays at Playwrights Horizons, Playwrights Realm, MCC, New York Stage & Film, Page 73 and The Lark. He is a Usual Suspect and former Directing Fellow at New York Theater Workshop, Sir John Gielgud SDCF Fellow and a Shubert Fellow.
ARNULFO MALDONADO (Scenic Designer) is a New York City-based set and costume designer. New York credits include: Donja R. Love’s Sugar in Our Wounds (Manhattan Theatre Club); Bull In A China Shop (LCT3); School Girls…, Charm (MCC Theater); Caught (Play Co, Henry Hewes nomination); I Was Most Alive With You, Dance Nation, Men On Boats, IOWA (Playwrights Horizons); Bobbie Clearly, Kingdom Come (Roundabout). Regional: Alley Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Center Stage, Center Theatre Group, Guthrie Theater, Humana Festival, KC Rep, Old Globe, Two River Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival. Tour: Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (Under The Radar Festival, International Tour); The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (BAM Next Wave/International tour). Mr. Maldonado is a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, a recipient of a Princess Grace Fabergé Theater Award, and a multiple-Henry Hewes Design nominee. MFA: NYU Tisch. www.arnulfomaldonado.com
DEDE AYITE (Costume Designer). Upcoming: American Son. Broadway: Children of a Lesser God. Select Off-Broadway: Collective Rage…, School Girls… (MCC); Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC); Mankind, Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons); JHAT (Signature); The Royale (Lincoln Center); Tell Hector I Miss Him, Marie and Rosetta (Atlantic); Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout); brownsville song [b-side for tray] (LCT3). Regionally: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf, Denver Center, California Shakespeare, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory, Baltimore Center Stage, Arena Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Signature Theatre, McCarter Theatre. Television: Comedy Central; FOX Shortcoms; COPPER Project. Awards: Recipient of Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Theatre Bay Area, and Jeff Awards; two Drama Desk Nominations. Education: MFA Yale School of Drama.
DAVID WEINER (Lighting Designer). Atlantic: Guards at the Taj (Lortel Award), Dying for It, Through A Glass Darkly (Lortel Award), Offices, Celebration and The Room and Sea Of Tranquility. Broadway: The Price, Stephen King’s Misery, Romeo & Juliet, Dead Accounts, Grace, Godspell, The Normal Heart, reasons to be pretty, Butley, Dinner at Eight (Lincoln Center Theater), Betrayal (Roundabout Theater Company), The Real Thing. Off Broadway: MCC, MTC, Second Stage, Playwrights Horizons, The Public, New York Theater Workshop, Theater for a New Audience, Vineyard, Atlantic. Regional: The Old Globe, Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Guthrie, La Jolla Playhouse, The Alley, McCarter, Huntington, ART, Kansas City Rep, Williamstown, Berkeley Rep. David also designs architectural lighting (COTE Restaurant – Michelin Star, GQ Top 10 in America) and music festivals (Bonnaroo, Outside Lands). www.DavidWeinerDesign.com
JUSTIN ELLINGTON (Sound & Original Music) Broadway: Other Desert Cities. Off-Broadway: The House That Will Not Stand, Fetch Clay Make Man (New York Theatre Workshop); Pipeline, Pass Over, Other Desert Cities (Lincoln Center); He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, Winter’s Tale (TFANA); The Pride (MCC). Regional/International: Guthrie Theatre, Goodman Theatre, People’s Light, The Wilma Theater, PlayPenn, Alliance Theater, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre of London. Obie Award for Sound Design.
ALEX BASCO KOCH (Projection Designer). Selected credits: Concert Design: The Magnetic Fields’ 50 Song Memoir. Broadway: Irena’s Vow (Walter Kerr). Off-Broadway: Be More Chill (Signature Theatre); Buyer & Cellar (Barrow Street; Rattlestick); Body of an American (Primary Stages); The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre, NYC; Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Lenin’s Embalmers (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Regional: Indecent (Guthrie Theater); The Who’s Tommy (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); Tiger Style (Alliance Theater; Huntington Theatre Company); Marley ( Baltimore Center Stage); Invisible Man (Court Theatre, Chicago; Studio Theatre, Washington DC; Huntington Theatre Company); ReEntry (Center Stage, Baltimore; Round House, Washington DC; Actors Theater of Louisville). www.alexbascokoch.com
RAJA FEATHER KELLY (Choreography). Princess Grace Award winner for 2017 and 2018. Raja is a choreographer for theater, dance and performance works. Theater credits include: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Everybody (Signature Theatre, dir. by Lila Neugebauer), Jackie Sibblies-Drury’s Fairview (Soho Rep., dir. by Sarah Benson), Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (Signature, 2017 Lortel Award, dir. by Lileana Blain-Cruz), Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (Signature, dir. by Lila Neugebauer); Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand (NYTW, dir. by Lileana Blain-Cruz), Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop (Playwright Horizons), Daaimah Mubashshir’s Everyday Afroplay (JACK), Jim Findlay’s Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen) and Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival, dir. by Rachel Chavkin).
CODY RENARD RICHARD (Production Stage Manager). Broadway: Choir Boy (MTC Fall ’18), Hamilton, Paramour, Kinky Boots, Motown, After Midnight, Ghost, Cyrano de Bergerac, Lysistrata Jones, Dear Evan Hansen, If/Then, The Lion King. TV: Jesus Christ Superstar Live!, Hairspray Live!, The Wiz Live!. Cirque du Soleil: OVO (North American Tour,) Wintuk (Madison Square Garden). Off-Broadway/NY: Candide at Carnegie Hall, NY City Center Encores!, The Public Theater, Transport Group and The Pearl Theatre Company. Selected Regional Theater: The Muny, Stages STL, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre & The Repertory Theatre of STL. BFA in Stage Management from Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts. Instagram/Twitter: @codyrenard
SARA SAHIN (Assistant Stage Manager) just returned from Stage Managing William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load at the Tate Modern and Ruhrtriennale. She has worked on and Off-Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company, Park Avenue Armory, MCC, LCT, Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, among others. Regional: Signature Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Barrington Stage Company. With writer Greg Turner she has co-produced and directed five of his original plays in NYC and one short film. Sara is member of the LCT Directors Lab and a graduate of New York University.