Paul McCartney’s Working on a Stage Adaptation of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ for Launch in ‘Late 2020’


Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News


If you thought Sir Paul McCartney would be taking it easy after concluding his Freshen Up U.S. tour last weekend with an amazing show at Dodger Stadium that saw him reconvene with Ringo Starr for a magical performance, think again.

As Macca clearly does not have an “off” switch, he’s now devoting a significant amount of time and effort to his next project: A stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the details of which were announced on Thursday.

Via the news release:

Paul has partnered with British theatre and film impresario Bill Kenwright who will produce the show. Bill originally approached Paul three years ago after acquiring the rights to the much-loved film that over seven decades since its release continues to be a Prime-Time must for television audiences all around the world. Paul and Bill enjoy a lifetime’s connection having both been born and raised in Liverpool, and both attended the Liverpool Institute High School (now LIPA – the acclaimed performing arts academy founded by Paul).  

In addition to writing the music Paul has been working on the lyrics with the Tony Award winning English screen and play writer Lee Hall, who is also responsible for the book of the musical.

McCartney’s statement about this ambitious new endeavor, which is a first for his legendary career:

“Like many of these things this all started with an email.  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.”

Said Kenwright of this project with McCartney:

“Working with Paul on “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a dream realised. To be honest I was hooked on first hearing him say “one/two/three/four” on the demo of the opening number! But since then it’s been an extraordinary journey – on every song I experience Paul’s unique gift of melody and composition. It’s musical theatre – but it’s always McCartney.

Paul, Lee, and I use the word “cherish” when we refer to our source material and that’s what we intend to do. Cherish Frank Capra’s creation.”

Lee Hall, with whom McCartney is working on the music for this adaptation, is eager to bring it all to fruition:

“It’s A Wonderful Life is my favourite film. 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. Paul’s wit, emotional honesty and melodic brilliance brings a whole new depth and breadth to the classic tale. I feel as if an angel must be looking after me.”

Back in September 2018, as McCartney was releasing his album Egypt Station and its associated promotional touring obligations, he and Hall found time to record some of the music for the project, which is expected to launch in “late 2020,” so we won’t have to wait too long to see this come to life.



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