Mary Kay LaBrie Continues to Inspire
Mary Kay LaBrie’s writing career doesn’t testify to the cream rising to the top, talent willing out, or any other well-worn stock phrase we can slap on any talent. She’s arrived at the place she finds herself today through talent, of course, but discipline and work ethic are the chief propellants fueling her trajectory. The Western Pennsylvania native has worked for nearly a quarter-century as a staff development and leadership specialist with expertise in the areas of personality theory and human behavior. Her understanding of what makes people tick is, without question, one of the critical keystones of her writing talents.
Her first foray into writing came during the 1990’s when LaBrie and other friends co-penned “spec” sitcom scripts for shows such as NBC’s long-running Wings and CBS’ era-defining hit Murphy Brown. She formed a successful writing partnership with playwright Julie Malady that birthed Shoestrings, a half-historical Eastern European immigrant comedy led by a character based on LaBrie’s great-grandfather. Her work has placed high in contests such as the Austin Heart of Film event and allowed her chances to make all-important connections with major players in the film and television world. One of those individuals, comedy great Daniel Petrie, Jr., impressed LaBrie with his care and wisdom.
She attributes lessons learned from Petrie to her securing development deals with producer Jessica Russell, responsible for productions such as Boyz Klub and Wisegirls. A bit of a Renaissance woman, cooking and blogging briefly diverted her creative energies away from screenwriting. She’s enjoyed significant success competing in The World Food Championships and her recipes are featured in cookbooks as well as Country Woman and Taste of Home magazines. Her culinary profile jumped to a new level when Chef Tony Lagana recruited her to blog for Menu Innovator, an online publication for chefs. She’s since added developing her own recipes and serving as a paid spokesperson for the Spicelopedia spice line.
The pandemic proved, if nothing else, that Mary Kay LaBrie knows how to make lemonade out of lemons. She returned to screenwriting in 2019 and her prolific clip only accelerated with the onset of COVID as she wrote The Monongahela Mysteries, a murder mystery/comedy series, a romantic comedy entitled The Jealousy Test, and paired with Malady once again for a kitchen stadium themed rom-com, among other projects.
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The Orlando, Florida-based writer is a long way from her roots with a loud and extended Ukrainian family in the Western Pennsylvania hinterlands. Her broad understanding of the world and the diversity of those walking across its surface, however, help her work stand out even in a crowded field of talented contemporaries. In the end, however, it is Mary Kay LaBrie’s dedication to answering the Muse’s call wherever it takes her that sets her apart. The theme of relentless creativity looking for whatever channel it needs is a theme dominating her life and it’s a safe bet to assume it will continue powering her work. There’s no telling what the future holds for LaBrie, but it has a bright tomorrow ahead and she’s heading there full speed.