On a song and a prayer: It's John Paul the musical

By Nick Squires in Rome

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II

It may lack the glitz of Chicago and the spectacle of The Lion King, but a musical has been written based on the life of Pope John Paul II.

Theatregoers hoping for the light touch of shows such as Mamma Mia! will be disappointed - the musical will depict the assassination attempt on John Paul II, when he was shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in the middle of St Peter's Square in 1981. It will have its debut in Italy in January, with the producers hoping to move the show to Rome to coincide with the canonisation of the late Polish pope.

The date of the canonisation will be announced next week by the Vatican, with the ceremony, led by Pope Francis, expected to happen in April.

Karol Wojtyla: The True Story, will depict his life from Nazi-occupied Poland to the priesthood, his role in bringing down Communism and his election as pontiff in 1978. He loved playing football and was a keen amateur actor.

The score was written by Noa, an Israeli pop star who knew John Paul and sang Ave Maria for him at an audience in St Peter's Square in 1994.

The show will start with the assassination attempt.

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