Katori Hall is an acclaimed playwright and the creator of the Starz series P-Valley. The show takes place at The Pynk, a southern strip club.
Tina Rowden / Starz
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Katori Hall is best known as the Olivier Award-winning playwright behind The Mountaintop, which fictionalized the last night in the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The 2011 Broadway production featured Samuel L. Jackson as King and Angela Bassett as the maid Camae. Hall's latest project is the P-Valley series on Starz, and it couldn't be more different than The Mountaintop. The show is set in a strip club in the south and follows the lives of the dancers who work there. It's about their relationships with themselves, with each other and with their customers.
On an episode of CNET's "I'm So Obsessed" podcast, Hall explains that P-Valley isn't the Bada Bing! by The Sopranos or Lickety Splitz on Ozark.
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"Let's face it, the strip club is a very complicated place. It's a place of exploitation. There are a lot of women who have very terrible stories," said a passionate hall. “I wanted to show that this world is not black or white. It's very gray. Nobody is completely bad. Nobody is completely good. There are tropes in the media when it comes to dancers, like the stripper with the heart of gold . "
Hall said she decided to turn these tropes and TV strip club stereotypes on their head. The result? P-Valley is a phenomenal show. It currently has a 100% fresh rating for rotten tomatoes and a metacritical rating of 85. It can be fun and cover important topics like domestic violence, racism, and misogyny. Part of what P-Valley does so well is that it focuses on the dancers' lives rather than just making them a backstop. Much of the show's mojo comes from the fact that the creative team behind the scenes is made up almost entirely of women.
Hall talks about the show, goes to strip clubs as a woman and how athletic it is to play pole dance. She also discusses working on the Broadway show Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and why Turner hates the song "What Love Has To Do With It".
Listen to my entire conversation with Hall on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Check out P-Valley Sunday night on Starz. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed in your favorite podcast app. In each episode, I meet with an artist, actor, or creator to learn more about work, career, and current obsessions.