After almost 20 exciting years in the high-tech and dot-com world, Laurie returned to her first love, musical theater, and began developing the concept, story, and music for Give Me A Break. She recruited her long-time friend, Barbara McMillen, to rekindle their successful partnership and participate in the development of the project. Together, they created today's Give Me A Break. Laurie founded Dripping Talent Productions in 2008 to facilitate development of new rock musicals. With several other projects underway, "Give Me A Break" is the first project brought to full production.
Laurie's performance career has included roles in The Miracle Worker, The Boyfriend, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Once Upon a Mattress, Oliver, Camelot, and The Gypsy Baron at theatres including Miller Theatre Under the Stars, Houston Music Theatre and Theatre, Inc. She has studied theater arts at Theatre, Inc. and Houston Music Theatre, directed stage projects, and scripted/directed industrial films. Laurie has written hundreds of songs and performed keyboards and vocals in rock and jazz bands. Laurie directed staged and table readings of Give Me A Break in project development.
Laurie attended college on a vocal performance scholarship. She studied music composition at University of Texas and earned her BS degree in Music Therapy, as well as a MS degree in Marketing. Laurie studied Improvisational Comedy at the Hideout Theater in Austin, Texas and Scoring for Films at the University of Texas. She participated in the ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshops in Los Angeles and New York City, and is a patron of the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Laurie has built several multi-million dollar companies. She wrote two books, Dead Ahead and The Soul of the New Consumer, both in international distribution (Allworth Press, 1998, 2000). She's been featured in Fortune Magazine, as well as quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Business Week, and a keynote speaker in e-business conferences worldwide.
Barbara McMillen has been singing, songwriting and playing the piano since she can remember. She studied music at the famed University of North Texas jazz school and met her collaborator, Ms. Windham while studying Music Therapy. During their college years, Barbe & Laurie formed their first band together in Denton.
Barbe's music performance career ranges from piano bars to touring bands performing all genres of music. Since her touring days, while still performing locally, she has honed her skills as composer and producer. Her composer credits include album cuts, television, films, and musical theatre, winning awards for original music and lyrics. Her producer credits include 2 television shows and numerous albums for various record labels and is a voting member of the Recording Academy (who award the Grammy). She has been a part of the cast for a number of locally produced musicals at the Majestic Theater. She is still performing the great american songbook as a music therapist and playing her own songs at local festivals. Barbe is Founding President Emeritus of the Dallas Songwriters Association, and Associate Professor of Songwriting at Collin College.
Give Me A Break is the 3rd musical that Barbe has collaborated on. She was excited to rekindle a partnership with Laurie for the creation of this new, griity story, inter-weaved with our own tell-all experiences of a female's struggle in a 70's rock band.
Richard Blake brings a wealth of talent and experience to the project. He has been an active member of the performing arts community for more than 20 years. He began his career as a professional actor on stage, screen and television. Coming to Texas from the Chicagoland area, he has continued in his work as an award-winning producer, director, actor and production designer in the DFW Metroplex.
He holds a degree in International Marketing and Management with an emphasis in Theatre Arts/Production. He serves as an Associate Critic with "John Garcia's, The Column" and the Examiner. He has directed many shows in his career, including several world premieres.
Richard is an active Professional Member in good standing of; The Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas Grants Committee, The Dallas Producers Association (DPA), American Association of Community Theatre (AACT), United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), Texas Non-Profit Theatres (TNT) and various other Community Organizations that benefit youth and young adults on a volunteer basis.
David is originally from the small town of Benavides, TX and is thrilled to be part of the production team of Give Me a Break. David has worked in various capacities with a number of organizations including the Dallas Opera, the Boston Opera Collaborative, Lyric Stage, Upstart Productions, and the south Texas based Zero Untitled Productions.
Some of his directing credits include Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, scenes from James Lapine's Twelve Dreams, Robin Rothstein's Libretto, P. Seth Bauer's Iphigenia, and Don Nigro's Barefoot in Nightgown by Candlelight. Most recently he directed the world premiere of Michael Moon's Crossroads, winner of the McKinney Repertory Theatre's 1st Annual New Play Competition. David Holds a Master of Arts in Drama from Texas Woman's University in Denton and is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.