Julie was born in south Louisiana where the Atchafalaya River and Bayou Teche flow into the Gulf of Mexico, the deepest of the deep south, a hundred miles from New Orleans. Her Acadian ancestors arrived in Louisiana before 1765, yet the influence of their French culture was so pervasive that two hundred years later Julie’s grandparents spoke English as a second language. Growing up in this Cajun delta gave her an appreciation for warm, friendly people with wicked senses of humor – and – an unending appetite for seafood.
After getting a Bachelor’s degree from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Julie convinced her parents she would take a year off doing plays in San Francisco before coming back home to go to medical school. In California, Julie met Sam Shepard, Robert Woodruff and other fully dedicated theater artists and realized this was her calling. For the first time she was in a room with people who regarded the Arts as seriously as others regarded Science. It was life changing. San Francisco became home as Julie set off on a creative path, first directing then writing for the theater.
The first play she directed was Cowboy Mouth by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith for the Eureka Theater Midnight Series. She will never forget the stomping, standing ovation on opening night, her moment of no return. Since that long ago time Julie has directed dozens of new plays for some of the most daring theaters in the country including Steppenwolf, LaMaMa, the Magic Theater, Los Angeles Theater Center and many more.
Julie wrote her first play, True Beauties, at Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, under the tutelage of the formidable Maria Irene Fornes. Julie directed the first production at the Magic Theater, where it was honored with the Best Play of the Year Award by the Bay Area Critics Circle. This recognition was another turning point: accepting writing as the central path of her life.
Julie’s plays have been produced across the country and honored many times, including with two PEN Awards for Drama. Her play Tree opened to stellar reviews and sold out houses at SF Playhouse in 2015.
Julie has received grants from the NEA, TCG, AT&T New Plays, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and the California Arts Commission for writing, directing, and inter-disciplinary arts. She has served on peer-panels for many of these organizations. Julie taught in the graduate programs at UCLA and USC, and is a proud alumna of New Dramatists, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Alternate ROOTS. She continues to write and direct plays and will always do so.
When her musical drama Ruby’s Bucket of Blood was optioned by Showtime and Whoopi Goldberg, Julie wrote the screenplay, which was made into a film starring Angela Bassett. It was the first of many scripts Julie has written for film and television. When a producer saw her production of Almost Asleep, Julie was hired to write the screenplay for Female Perversions starring Tilda Swinton, a film which went on to be nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Julie has written and directed for several hit television shows including Nashville, The Good Wife, Boss, Blue Bloods, The West Wing, ER, Numb3rs and most recently the Emmy Award-winning American Crime, where she is an Executive Producer. Her television writing has been honored with a Prism Award and an Environmental Media Award from the Norman Lear Center. Her first television directorial effort, a documentary for Third Watch after 9/11, resulted in a George Foster Peabody Award.
All this, and still a burning desire to write and direct, to tell more stories.
The girl from the bayou has come a long way, but still has an affinity for warm, friendly people with wicked senses of humor – and – an appetite for seafood.