Paul McCartney is writing a musical version of the classic Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, who rose to international fame with the Beatles, has joined forces with Lee Hall (Billy Elliot: The Musical), who is penning the libretto and co-writing the lyrics with McCartney. Bill Kenwright will produce.
McCartney, who has already written more than 10 songs for the project, said in a statement, “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.”
No timeline has been officially announced for a stage production, although a 2020 U.K. premiere would likely precede a Broadway staging.
The 1946 film starred James Stewart as George Bailey with Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner, Frank Albertson, Todd Karns, Samuel S. Hinds, Mary Treen, and Virginia Patton. The movie earned five Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture.
Another musical version of the film, A Wonderful Life, which was first presented at the University of Michigan in 1986, features a book and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by the late Joe Raposo with additional music by Harnick and Jerry Depuit.