Elton John Previews Songs from His Devil Wears Prada Musical Based on 'One of My Favorite Films'

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Elton John Previews Songs from His Devil Wears Prada Musical Based on 'One of My Favorite Films'
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Elton John is leveraging his musical prowess — and passion for fashion — for The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical.

In a PEOPLE-exclusive sneak peek, the legendary piano rocker previews some of his music for the upcoming Chicago show, based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger and 2006 movie of the same name starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.

"It's one of my favorite films and the subject matter in the film screams out for music, as well," says John, 75. "But I just thought, 'You have to have characters that you can write [songs] for, and you have to have a backdrop which can inspire you musically,' and the film does."

In the video, John performs snippets from the musical's tracks "Dress Your Way Up," "When a Legend Is Born" and, of course, "The Devil Wears Prada."

Of "When a Legend Is Born," he says, "The lyrics are so brilliant because it sounds like I've been to enough fashion shows in my life to know that it's the excitement of when you see something new and you see something great, and you're there and you can feel the excitement within the crowd and you know that something special has come. It's like going to see a rock concert."

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Elton John, Devil Wears Prada
Elton John, Devil Wears Prada

Kevin Winter/Getty; Everett Collection Elton John; poster for The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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Calling the score a "modern" one, John reveals he and his team have "written 20 songs so far" and that he has "enjoyed writing every single one."

"All the characters [have] kind of got something to say, so it gives you great scope for writing," he says. "You can write tongue-in-cheek numbers, you can write serious numbers, you can write a very romantic song, a very frivolous song."

And he knew Shaina Taub was the perfect fit to help write the lyrics, as she was his "favorite" out of "three or four candidates" who were in the running.

"We got on like a house on fire from the very word 'go,' " says John. "She's brilliant at bringing characters to life. She just knows how to do it."

John goes on to praise other members of the show's team including director Anna D. Shapiro, whom he calls "one of the most respected Tony-winning directors there are" and says has "so much enthusiasm" for the show.

Elton John
Elton John

Courtesy of The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical Shaina Taub and Elton John

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"Everyone involved so far has been so enthusiastic, and it's been a dream," the Oscar-, Tony- and Grammy-winning artist says. "They'll walk out elated."

An official synopsis for the show reads, "Runway Magazine. The supreme authority of the high-fashion world, and the new home of assistant Andy Sachs. It's a position a million people would kill for, but under the sharp stilettos of Runway's legendary Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly, the job is no dream. Up against Miranda's blistering leadership and stratospheric expectations, Andy is pushed to the edge, forced to choose between her career and her own happiness."

The cast of The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical will be led by Tony winner Beth Leavel as Miranda Priestly (Streep, 73, in the film) and Taylor Iman Jones as Andy Sachs (originally Hathaway, 39). Costars include Javier Muñoz as Nigel Owens, Christiana Cole as Lauren Hunter, Megan Masako Haley as Emily Charlton, Tiffany Mann as Kayla Ward, Michael Tacconi as Nate Angstrom and Christian Thompson as Christian Thompson.

Aside from John, Shapiro and Taub, the crew includes music supervisor Nadia DiGiallonardo, composer Giles Martin and choreographer James Alsop, with a book by Kate Wetherhead.

The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical is playing from July 19 through Aug. 21 at Broadway in Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.