The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The former Beatle, who wrapped up a tour with a rapturously received show Saturday at Dodger Stadium, has been at work for some time with writer Lee Hall — responsible for “Billy Elliot” on stage and the “Rocketman” screenplay — and British producer Bill Kenwright.
“Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me,” said McCartney in a statement. “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.”
The aim is to launch a production in late 2020 in the UK with a later move to Broadway.
How far along is he? Far, according to a report in the New York Post from a writer who says he’s already heard McCartney’s recordings of 10 songs.
“On a recent trip to London, I got to listen to McCartney’s stunning demo tracks,” writes Johnny Oleksinski. “The songwriter segues easily into the musical theater style, while still giving his diehard fans that soulful McCartney sound. Every time a Beatle sings, an angel gets his wings. … On the CD, the singer performs every role from George Bailey to Mr. Potter and even tries his hand at acting. The more than 10 finished songs sound like a bona fide lost Beatles album, with one spectacular number’s rousing ending bringing to mind the ‘Na Na Na Na Na’s of ‘Hey Jude.’”
Oleksinski reports that the producer obtained rights to the film from Paramount in 2016 and reached out to McCartney, who took an interest and “mailed him the opening song” last year. “Our hero was a musical theater writer!” Kenwright told the Post.