If you’ve ever watched Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life and thought, “Ya know what this story needs? Songs by Paul McCartney!”, today is your lucky day. McCartney is set to write the music and lyrics for an upcoming stage musical adaptation of the film that starred Jimmy Stewart as a banker ready to ruin everyone’s Christmas by throwing himself off a bridge.
To quote Zuzu Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his Wings frontman Paul McCartney.” McCartney is set to add a whole new dimension to Frank Capra’s masterpiece, marking the first time the former Beatle has ever written a musical. Producer Bill Kenwright approached McCartney about penning the musical after acquiring the rights to the film, and McCartney was up for the challenge.
“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,” McCartney said. “It’s a Wonderful Life is a universal story we can all relate to.”
McCartney is an interesting choice for It’s a Wonderful Life. His post-Beatles work has been overly poppy and sunny – some naysayers might even call it corny. What makes this intriguing is that many think of It’s a Wonderful Life as a corny Christmas movie, but it’s actually quite dark, and even crushingly bleak at times. Blending McCartney’s pop music with that darkness will make for a jarring, but fascinating, experience.
In It’s a Wonderful Life, we follow the life of George Bailey, a really nice guy who does everything he can to help the people of his small town of Bedford Falls. As good of a guy as George is, he still falls on hard times, and comes very close to committing suicide. He’s saved at the last minute by his guardian angel Clarence, who then proceeds to show George what Bedford Falls would look like had he never been born. The result is a creepy, nightmare place where everyone is drunk, mean, and violent. Kind of like New Jersey.
McCartney collaborated on the lyrics with Lee Hall, who is also writing the musical’s book. The It’s a Wonderful Life musical will debut sometime in 2020.
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