Elton John and writer Lee Hall are reportedly teaming up for a new stage show based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm. “I’m deep into it, writing songs for pigs and other four-legged friends,” Hall told The Daily Mail about penning songs based on Orwell’s satire about the Stalinism era. “It’s taken about two years. We almost gave up, but there was always that one last license to go after.” Hall added that he and John have yet to acquire the necessary rights to stage a musical based on Orwell’s book and that the show is at least two years away from the production stages.
John and Hall have worked together in the past — the two last collaborated on the musical Billy Elliot — and Hall says the two have got their creative process down to a science. “I know that Elton likes to have the lyrics done and have them in front of him so I’ll work on a batch before I give him anything to look at,” Hall said.
Orwell’s novella may seem like an odd choice for a musical, but Elton isn’t the first musician to try and turn the works of Orwell into a rock opera: David Bowie once hoped to turn Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four into a musical, but the Orwell estate rejected his proposal. Instead, Bowie used many of the songs he penned for the musical to lay the groundwork for Diamond Dogs, which included a song called “1984.”