Paul McCartney and George Bailey have at least one thing in common: they both got by with a little help from their friends. Now the former Beatle is weaving his musical genius into the story of the character from It’s a Wonderful Life.
McCartney is turning the holiday classic into a musical stage play with the help of British theater producer Bill Kenwright and writer Lee Hall. The goal is to hit the stage in the UK in 2020 before taking the show to Broadway.
“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.”
The 1946 film saw the fictional Bailey contemplating suicide on a snowy Christmas Eve night, until his guardian angel convinced him that no man is a failure who has friends. Bailey was a loving family man who got into financial and legal trouble at work through no fault of his own, and had to be reminded about all the good he had done for so many people.
McCartney is already writing the music for the adaptation and has been working on the lyrics with Hall.
“It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite film,” Hall said. “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.”
McCartney also just finished the U.S. leg of his Freshen Up tour at Dodger Stadium. The show included a surprise appearance by Ringo Starr.