Paul McCartney is writing his first stage musical, an adaptation of the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
The ex-Beatle is to write songs for Frank Capra’s ‘universal story’ collaborating with Billy Elliot playwright Lee Hall, who also wrote the screenplay for Rocketman, as well as West End producer Bill Kenwright. sources: billboard – the guardian)
McCartney said he’d never considered writing a musical, but after meeting Kenwright and Hall three years ago, “Like many of these things, this all started with an email,” McCartney said. “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.”
Hall said McCartney’s “wit, emotional honesty and melodic brilliance brings a whole new depth and breadth to the classic tale.”
Frank Capra’s 1946 film tells the story of George Bailey, a small-town banker wracked with regret who is shown the value of his life by a guardian angel.
Producers said Thursday they are aiming for a late 2020 launch for the show. Its dates and venue have not been released.
McCartney described It’s A Wonderful Life as “a universal story we can all relate to”. Capra’s film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a selfless but embattled man contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve after he is framed for defrauding customers of the bank in his small American town. A guardian angel is dispatched from the heavens, and shows Bailey what the world would have been like without his lifetime of kind deeds, resulting in one of the most sentimental – and satisfying – endings in cinema.
McCartney already has form in writing seasonal hits – Wonderful Christmastime reached No 6 in 1979 in the UK, and he recorded his version of The Christmas Song, popularised by Nat King Cole, in 2012 – but hasn’t commented on the songs being written for It’s a Wonderful Life.