Starz orders Katori Hall drama to series; Memphis native cast

Mississippi Delta-set show promises 'grit and glitter'

By Published: December 05, 2018 11:04 PM CT

Subscription cable and satellite network Starz has announced the pickup of a television series created by Memphis native Katori Hall.

“P-Valley” is the working title of the hour-long strip club drama adapted from Hall’s play with a similar name. Two years ago, Starz announced it was putting the show into development.

At that time, Carmi Zlotnik, president of programming for Starz said, “We’re excited to work with Katori Hall, who has successfully created exciting and complex roles for black women in the American theater and we’re confident she’ll continue to do so with (P-Valley).”

Earlier this year, Hall announced a casting call for the series’ roles.

Starz airs films as well as its own original series, including Power” and American Gods.”

More details about the show were announced, including that actress Brandee Evans, another Memphis native, has been cast in a lead role as a character named Mercedes.

The casting call gives clues to the character’s story. In part, it reads, “After a long reign as the queen of the Pink Pony, this enterprising hustler is ready to hang up her lucites and start anew. Determined to parlay her side hustle as a youth dance team coach into a viable career, she wrestles daily with the respectability politics that demand she feel ashamed of her floss-filled past.”

Evans, a former high school English teacher, dancer and choreographer, also recently portrayed Tina Brown (Bobby Brown’s sister), in the BET miniseries “The Bobby Brown Story.”

Starz’s synopsis for the show is “Down deep in the Mississippi Delta lies an oasis of grit and glitter in a rough patch of human existence where beauty can be hard to find. This southern-fried, hour-long drama tells the kaleidoscopic story of a little-strip-club-that-could and the big characters who come through its doors — the hopeful, the lost, the broken, the ballers, the beautiful, and the damned. Trap music meets film noir in this lyrical and atmospheric series that dares to ask what happens when small-town folk dream beyond the boundaries of the Piggly Wiggly and the pawnshop.”

Nicco Annan (“This is Us”) will star as a character named Uncle Clifford. Shannon Thornton (“Power”) and J. Alphonse Nicholson (“Chicago P.D.”) will be series regulars.

Karena Evans, who is known for directing music videos such as Drake’s “Nice For What” and “God’s Plan” and SZA’s “Garden,” will direct the premiere episode.

Hall will serve as showrunner and executive producer with Chernin Entertainment.

Hall has kept a busy slate of projects. Her play “Hurt Village” is in development as a feature film. She wrote the book for the biographical musical “Tina,” about the life of Tina Turner. Starting in London’s West End in 2018, it will head to Broadway next fall.

Her short film “Arkabutla” screened during the 2017 Indie Memphis Film Festival. In 2014, she was one of 10 writers selected for Sundance Institute's inaugural Episodic Story Lab. 

"Arkabutla" can be viewed here: 

Arkabutla Vimeo Stereo 12.13.2016 from Khaliah Neal on Vimeo.

“The Mountaintop,” her Olivier-winning play that fictionalized the last day of Martin Luther King Jr., starred Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett when it hit Broadway.


Katori Hall Brandee Evans Starz P-Valley
Elle Perry

Elle Perry

Elle Perry covers arts and culture and other news for the Daily Memphian. She is a native of Memphis and a two-time graduate of the University of Memphis. Elle previously worked for the Memphis Business Journal and has written for publications including The Memphis Flyer and High Ground News.

Comment On This Story

Email Editions

Sign up for our morning and evening editions, plus breaking news.