“Winston,” the Musical Will Hit Broadway in 2018

Churchill: the next Hamilton

Prediction for 2018: New Year’s Eve Predictions are always interesting, in part because they are reveal the prognosticator’s reactions to recent events but also because people are naturally interested in what they’ll be facing in the next 12 months.

I will avoid the more popular topics such as the 2018 midterm elections, Donald Trump’s strategy for China and the punishment of sexual predators in Congress and the media. Instead, I’ll stick to a single prediction on the cultural (and historical) front.

And here it is (drum roll, please)! I predict there will be a Broadway production (or possibly one in London) of a musical based on the life of Winston Churchill.

Reason 1: The success of “Hamilton.”
The tremendous success of Lin Manuel Miranda’s production is the most obvious reason for another work based on the life of a political leader. If a playwright can make an entertaining two and half hour show about a brilliant, but relatively colorless politician like Alexander Hamilton, surely another composer or writer can create some great songs based on the outsize personality of Winston Churchill.

Reason 2: the current interest in Winston Churchill and the 1940s and 1950s.

In the past year, at least four different movies have featured Churchill in the main role or as a key supporting figure.
The Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman, has already won several film festival awards for best picture and best actor.
Churchill, starring Brian Cox, focuses on the period leading up to the 1944 D-Day landings. Cox won praise for his acting, but a number of historians criticized the historical accuracy of the film.
The Netflix series The Crown featured John Lithgow as a glowering yet considerate prime minister tutoring the young Queen Elizabeth II.
(Note: I have only seen The Crown, but I look forward to seeing the others when they appear on Netflix HBO or another service).
Reason 3: material for great songs.

Hamilton had wonderful songs including “My Shot,” “The Story of Tonight” and “You’ll be Back.” The last song, sung by King George III, was hilarious. But think of the material a life of Churchill provides. I can image a song called “You Can’t Catch Me,” about his escape from a prisoner of war camp during the Boer War. Or maybe a number titled “It’s a Disaster,” about his decision to invade Gallipoli in World War I. Although the name “Blood, Sweat and Tears” has already been claimed by a 1960s rock band, maybe Churchill’s famous 1940 speech could be reworked into a stirring “All I Can Offer You.” As for the shocking results of the 1945 election, that has potential for a sad, reflective number, “I’ve Lost.”

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