Paul McCartney wrote an ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ musical — and we’ve heard it
Sir Paul McCartney could be leaving Abbey Road for Broadway.
Over the past year, the Beatle has been writing a new musical, a stage version of the 1946 Frank Capra classic film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” it was revealed Wednesday.
The show, produced by Bill Kenwright, marks the first foray into theater for the 77-year-old musician who is responsible for many of the greatest pop songs of all time like “Hey Jude” and “Yesterday.”
“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.”
He added: “ ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a universal story we can all relate to.”
Hall, who alongside Elton John scored a huge British hit with “Billy Elliot: The Musical” in 2005, is writing the book and co-writing the lyrics with McCartney.
Kenwright, the powerful British producer, has had a passion for the Christmas story his entire life. When he was just starting out, the producer asked Capra for the stage rights, and received a kind letter back telling him “No.” Kenwright still has it.
Years later he was offered the rights by Paramount, and thought immediately of McCartney. He reached out to the Beatle in 2016 with a pie-in-the-sky offer to score the show. Two years later, McCartney mailed him the opening song. Kenwright was gobsmacked.
“Our hero was a musical theater writer!” he said.
Kenwright’s not wrong.
On a recent trip to London, I got to listen to McCartney’s stunning demo tracks. 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.”
Right now there is no cemented timeline for the show’s debut, or a West End theater booked, but it would likely begin in the UK before coming to Broadway.
And when it does, George Bailey will surely be the richest man in town.
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