Paul McCartney Writing Stage Musical Version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
Frank Capra's holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life is being adapted into a stage musical, with the score composed by Paul McCartney. It's expected to debut towards the end of 2020, although it has yet to be revealed whether it will premiere in London, New York or somewhere else.
The former Beatle will be collaborating on his first-ever musical with Lee Hall, who wrote the script for Billy Elliott and the 2019 Elton John biopic Rocketman. It's going to be produced by noted British theater producer Bill Kenwright, who approached McCartney about the project.
“Like many of these things, this all started with an email,” McCartney told The Guardian. “Bill had asked if it was something I might be up for. Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me, but Bill and I met up with Lee Hall and had a chat and I found myself thinking this could be interesting and fun.”
Kenwright called working with McCartney "a dream realized," and declared that the songs he's heard have “exceeded expectations … The songs take you somewhere you don’t expect to go. They sound simple – but it’s deceptive. That’s Paul’s genius.”
It's a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey, a down-on-his-luck man who considers committing suicide at Christmastime, but an angel intervenes and shows Bailey what his hometown of Bedford Falls would have been like without him.
“It has absolutely everything: comedy, pathos and a rare humanity which has touched generation after generation," Hall, who called it his favorite movie, said. "Yet it just couldn’t be more relevant. To give it a life on the stage is an immense privilege, but to do it with Paul McCartney is off the scale. Paul’s wit, emotional honesty and melodic brilliance brings a whole new depth and breadth to the classic tale. I feel as if an angel must be looking after me.”