A Wonderful Life

Paul McCartney working on It's A Wonderful Life stage musical

Will Longman
Will Longman

Sir Paul McCartney is reportedly writing his first stage musical, an adaptation of the 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life, set to premiere in late 2020, it has been reported.

Lee Hall - who wrote Billy Elliot and the recent National Theatre production of Network - is collaborating with the Beatles bassist on original music for the show, which will be produced by Bill Kenwright.

The film, written and directed by Frank Capra, starred James Stewart as George Bailey, a suicidal man who is saved by the intervention of a guardian angel on Christmas Eve. It is on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films ever made. You can watch a trailer for the film below.

Announcing the project on his website, McCartney said: "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."

Kenwright said that working with the musician on the project was "a dream realised", adding, "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".

Hall, who says It's A Wonderful Life is his "favourite film", said, "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."

The Beatles songs have been used on stage before, including the 2013 West End revue show Let It Be, which played at three West End theatres and a transfer to Broadway.

Dates, a venue and ticket details for It's A Wonderful Life are yet to be announced.

Photo credit: Jimmy Bakovicius (flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Originally published on

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