Like Elton John, Paul Simon and Bono before him, the great Paul McCartney could be the latest rock legend to lend his talents to Broadway. The former Beatle has confirmed that he’s been working on a musical version of the classic 1946 holiday movie It’s A Wonderful Life.
The musical would be produced by British producer Bill Kenwright, who revealed the project to the New York Post.
“Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me,” McCartney said 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.”
Writer Hall has experience working with rockers and with turning movies into stage musicals: He and John wrote 2005’s Billy Elliot: The Musical. He’s reportedly writing the book and co-writing the lyrics for the McCartney version of the Frank Capra classic. More recently, Hall wrote the screenplay for the Elton John biopic Rocketman.
The current plan is for Wonderful Life to hit the UK stage in late 2020, with a subsequent move to Broadway. According to the Post, its reporter, on a recent trip to London, was allowed to listen to some of McCartney’s demo tracks for the project and describes them as having “that soulful McCartney sound.” According to Post writer Johnny Oleksinski, the demos have McCartney performing “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.’”
McCartney recently concluded a U.S. tour with a performance at Dodger Stadium, and his TV special with James Corden has been nominated for an Emmy.