Press Release: ​​​​Fireflies

Fireflies by Donja R. Love Brings Gripping Civil Rights Movement Drama to South Coast Repertory

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​​​Dec. 13, 201​9)—This week, South Coast Repertory Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei welcomed the cast of Fireflies by Donja R. Love at the start of rehearsals. The gripping drama is directed by Lou Bellamy, with performances on the Julianne Argyros Stage, Jan. 5-26, 2020. Tickets are available at

The play is set in the immediate aftermath of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four little girls. Spreading messages of hope is Rev. Charles Grace, whose eloquent speeches are crafted by his wife, Olivia. But secrets and regrets are beginning to take their toll on the couple’s marriage.

For Bellamy, the play hits close to home. He was raised by “strong women” (his mother, aunt and grandmother) and he was a college student in the early 1960s.

“I know from my own family that there is a terrible cost for those who suffered during the Civil Rights movement,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to show the bravery and sense of character that it took to maintain dignity through that time. In Fireflies, you can see the effect of the trauma on this married couple and it is profound.” 

Bellamy is the founder and artistic director emeritus of Penumbra Theatre (Minneapolis, Minn.) and is making his directorial debut at SCR.

Love is a black, queer and HIV-positive playwright. A native of Philadelphia, his honors include the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award (2018) and the 2017 Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2017). He other honors include the Lark Theatre’s  Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship (2016) and the Playwrights Realm’s Writing Fellowship (2016-17), along with the Philadelphia Adult Grand Slam Poetry Champion (2011). He has had productions at Manhattan Theatre Club (Sugar in Our Wounds) and Atlantic Theater Company (Fireflies). He’s the co-host of “Off Book,” a podcast on black theatre, and 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. His other plays include one in two, soft and The Trade.

The cast features Christiana Clark and Lester Purry in the roles of Olivia Grace and Rev. Charles Grace.

The design and creative team includes Vicki Smith, scenic design; David Kay Mickelsen, costume design; Don Darnutzer, lighting design; Scott W. Edwards, sound design; Jeffrey Elias Teeter, projections; and Joann DeNaut, CSA, casting. The stage manager is Alyssa Escalante.

Tickets start at $24. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit:

Related Information for Fireflies

Tickets: May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Jan. 5-26; low-priced previews run Jan. 5-9 Ticket prices start at $24. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Performance Dates, Times:


  • Sunday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 7, 8 and 9, at 7:45 p.m.
    Note: Friday, Jan. 10, is an invitation-only performance

Regular performances

Special note: There are no Monday performances.


  • Tuesdays-Sundays, Jan. 14-19, and Jan. 21-25, at 7:45 p.m.
    Note: There is no evening performance on Sunday, Jan. 26.


  • Saturdays-Sundays, Jan. 11-12, Jan. 18-19, and Jan. 25-26, at 2 p.m.

ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussion: On Tuesday, Jan. 7, stay after the show for a discussion with members of the creative design team for Fireflies. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Talkbacks: On Tuesday, Jan. 14, and Wednesday, Jan. 15, stay after the show to discuss the play with the cast of Fireflies. These free post-show discussions are led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Artistic Director Post-Show Conversation: On Thursday, Jan. 23, stay after the show for a conversation with David Ivers, SCR’s artistic director. He’ll chat about the show, the theatre and what’s on audience members’ minds.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR's production staff, offering insights into SCR’s production of Fireflies. The program includes a tour of the set. Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Upcoming Productions: She Loves Me, Jan. 25-Feb. 22; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Feb. 7-23 (Theatre for Young Audiences); Outside Mullingar, March 8-29; The Scarlett Letter, March 28-April 25; I Get Restless, April 12-May 3; Arcadia, May 9-June 6; and Dory Fantasmagory, May 22-June 7 (Theatre for Young Audiences). The annual showcase of new works, the Pacific Playwrights Festival, runs April 24-26, 2020.

Complete information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. Of SCR’s 532 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.