Paul McCartney is adapting the classic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life for the theater in what will be his first-ever stage musical, something the iconic musician said he never previously considered.
In a press release, the former Beatles member confirmed his involvement, revealing that he “found myself thinking this could be interesting and fun” after meeting Billy Elliot playwright Lee Hall and West End producer Bill Kenwright three years ago, both of whom are collaborating with McCartney on the musical adaptation.
McCarney is writing the music and lyrics, while Hall wrote the book and lyrics, and Kenwright is producing.
“Like many of these things this all started with an email,” McCartney said of the collaboration. “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. It’s A Wonderful Life is a universal story we can all relate to.”
While the move to musical theater is unchartered territory for McCartney, the music icon inherited a love of Broadway from his father, Jim McCartney, who would perform show tunes on the family piano during the star’s youth.
Hall praised McCartney’s “wit, emotional honesty and melodic brilliance,” saying he “brings a whole new depth and breadth to the classic tale.”
Frank Capra’s 1946 classic film follows a regret-filled banker who nearly takes his own life on Christmas Eve, before a guardian angel intervenes and shows him his value.
“It’s A Wonderful Life is my favourite film,” Hall said in the press release. “It has absolutely everything comedy, pathos and a rare humanity which has touched generation after generation. Yet it just couldn’t be more relevant. To give it a life on the stage is an immense privilege in itself but to do with Paul McCartney is off the scale … I feel as if an angel must be looking after me.”
Producers for the stage musical are targeting late 2020 for the show’s debut performance, however no dates or locations have been released.
McCartney is currently finishing up the music for the adaptation, and just recently wrapped up the U.S. leg of his Freshen Up world tour in Los Angeles last weekend.