×

Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Musical

The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The former Beatle, who wrapped up his most recent tour Saturday with a rapturously received show at Dodger Stadium, has been at work for some time with writer Lee Hall — responsible for “Billy Elliot” on stage and the “Rocketman” screenplay — and British producer Bill Kenwright. Lee is collaborating on the lyrics with McCartney as well as writing the show’s book.

“Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me,” said McCartney in a statement. “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.”

The aim is to launch a production in late 2020 in the UK with a later move to Broadway.

How far along is he? Far, according to a report in the New York Post from a writer who says he’s already heard McCartney’s recordings of “more than 10” songs.

“On a recent trip to London, I got to listen to McCartney’s stunning demo tracks,” writes Johnny Oleksinski. “The songwriter segues easily into the musical theater style, while still giving his diehard fans that soulful McCartney sound. Every time a Beatle sings, an angel gets his wings. … On the CD, the singer performs every role from George Bailey to Mr. Potter and even tries his hand at acting. The more than 10 finished songs sound like a bona fide lost Beatles album, with one spectacular number’s rousing ending bringing to mind the ‘Na Na Na Na Na’s of ‘Hey Jude.'”

The producer obtained rights to the film from Paramount in 2016 and reached out to McCartney, who took an interest but didn’t send in any material until last year. “Out of the blue I got an email from Paul asking my thoughts on his first stab at an opening song,” said Kenwright in a statement. “He wasn’t sure — but wanted to know what Lee and I thought of it? I played the demo. Lee and I were unanimous. Our hero was a musical theater writer!”

Kenwright said that in January of this year, McCartney and Hall turned in demos of six more songs they’d worked on together in England and New York during the release cycle for the musician’s 2018 album “Egypt Station.” While there was no official confirmation of the Post’s statement that McCartney’s demos already number “more than 10,” a statement to the press said McCartney is “still in the final stages of completing songs” for the musical.

More Legit

  • The Prince of Egypt review

    'The Prince of Egypt': Theater Review

    In “The Prince of Egypt,” a swords-and-sandals epic minus the swords, no one speaks, they declaim; no one questions, they implore to the heavens. In a musical re-telling of the Exodus story that is bigger on plagues than on developed characterization, subtlety was always going to be in short supply. But did everything have to [...]

  • Katori Hall

    Listen: Katori Hall's 'Quiet Revolution'

    Playwright Katori Hall’s latest, “The Hot Wing King,” centers on a group of black gay men — a community so rarely depicted onstage in the theater that she can’t think of another example. Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below: Which means there’s real power just to see them represented. “Because there aren’t a ton of images [...]

  • Cirque Du Soleil Volta

    Volta: Cirque Du Soleil’s Latest Blends Themes of Self-Discovery with Street Sports

    Blending themes of loneliness, isolation and self-discovery with the magnetic culture of street sports, Cirque du Soleil’s latest iteration, “Volta,” is an eye-popping and psychically soothing spiritual journey experienced through a prism of jaw-dropping acrobatics and aerodynamics that leave one gasping for breath. The Montreal-based entertainment company has produced a steady string of awe-inspiring shows [...]

  • Cambodian Rock Band review

    'Cambodian Rock Band': Theater Review

    Is there anything less politically threatening than a rock band jamming to its own vibrant music? Tell that to the Khmer Rouge, which descended on Cambodia in 1975 and killed off some three million people, including many musicians. In Lauren Yee’s play “Cambodian Rock Band,” the doomed, fictional band Cyclo is represented by actor-musicians with [...]

  • Protesters demonstrate at the Broadway opening

    'West Side Story' Broadway Opening Night Sparks Protests

    Roughly 100 protestors gathered outside the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” on Thursday night, carrying placards and chanting in unison to demand the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ramasar has got to go,” they cried while holding signs that read “Keep predators off the stage,” “Sexual predators shouldn’t get [...]

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content