Paul McCartney will put his spin on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for the stage
George Bailey, meet Paul McCartney.
The former Beatle, who, at 77, is fresh off a concert performance at Dodger Stadium, is working on music and lyrics for a stage version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The 1946 movie classic follows frustrated businessman Bailey and his guardian angel on the darkest night of his life: a Christmas Eve where he ponders his fate.
The musical is being produced by British theater and film impresario Bill Kenwright, according to a news release. Tony Award-winning writer Lee Hall is handling the book.
“Like many of these things this all started with an email,” McCartney said in a statement. “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.”
For Kenwright, who went to school with McCartney, getting rights to the musical was a dream come true. Decades ago, he’d asked Frank Capra about turning the movie into a musical and received a “lovely” handwritten letter that said, basically, no. They weren’t offered until years later, when he was in the middle of another project with Paramount
“The songs [by McCartney] take you somewhere you don’t expect to go. They sound simple — but it’s deceptive. That’s Paul’s genius. I don’t have to tell any lover of music how extraordinary he is — but he constantly takes my breath away,” Kenwright said in a statement.
The musical is set to launch in late 2020.
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.