Starz Developing Series Around Jazz's Jelly Roll Morton

Net Working With George Wolfe, Colin Callender
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Starz is turning to the turn of 20th Century New Orleans and the birth of jazz as it looks to roll its next drama series entry.

Working with film and theater writer and director George Wolfe and former HBO Films president Colin Callender's Playground Entertainment, the premium network is in development on Storyville, set in the Big Easy of the early 1900s, whenprostitution was decriminalized and a hedonistic, celebratory subculture emerged, fueling the birth of the musical form.

Storyville is based on an original idea by Wolfe, who won three Tony Awards for the 1992 Broadway musical Jelly’s Last Jam, about Jelly Roll Morton, whose career as pianist and composer began in the Crescent City's Storyville district.

Wolfe (Nights in Rodanthe, Lackawanna Blues, Lucky Guy) will serve as screenwriter and director with Callender’s Playground Entertainment producing the series, led by Scott Huff, vice president of development and production.

“We’re glad to be working in partnership again with Colin Callender and Playground Entertainment on this series and with one of Broadway's most respected producers and directors, George C. Wolfe for the first time. His love and expertise in this particular world will allow us to take viewers back to turn-of-the-century New Orleans during the birth of jazz in the midst of profound corruption,” said Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik.