What A Wonderful World


Press Contacts
For MTI: Jason Cocovinis
For Lively McCabe: Alison Bressi
For Titusville Playhouse: Steven J. Heron






(New York City, April 30, 2024) — Lively McCabe Entertainment and Music Theatre International have announced MTI’s acquisition of the new holiday jukebox musical, What A Wonderful World, which features a mix of iconic Christmas songs as well as other pop hits from across the decades, including the title song made famous by Louis Armstrong. The project was developed in collaboration with BMG and Primary Wave Music.

The musical features a book by Jeremy Desmon (Pump Up The Volume), and arrangements and orchestrations by Jesse Vargas (For The Record Live, Invincible- The Musical). Titusville Executive & Artistic Director Steven J. Heron will direct the production with Spencer Crosswell serving as music director.

The musical premiered in December 2021 at Timberlake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, IL under the direction of Paul Stancato and has since continued its development. The score includes hit Christmas songs such as “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” as well as popular songs made famous by artists including Kelly Clarkson, The Romantics, Imagine Dragons, Rascal Flatts, Shawn Mendes, American Authors, Rachel Platten, Hootie & The Blowfish, among others, arranged in post-modern jukebox style by Vargas.

Set in mid-century New York City (and the North Pole), What A Wonderful World, is the magical tale of how Santa and Mrs. Claus try to retire, but in doing so, they must pass on the baton to the new Santa. When the magic sleigh bells choose a young New York ad exec for the iconic position, he declines the offer, putting the North pole, and the fate of Christmas in jeopardy of disappearing forever.

“We’re excited to expand our existing relationship with the entire team at MTI with what we hope and expect will become a new standard Holiday show for theaters around the country,” said Michael Barra, CEO of Lively McCabe Entertainment. “We’re grateful to all of the music publishers and songwriters who’ve contributed songs to the show, and especially to our frequent collaborators at Primary Wave and BMG.”

Drew Cohen, MTI’s President and CEO remarked, “Lively McCabe has produced a terrific musical perfect for any group looking for holiday season programming. Audiences love the familiarity of the many hit songs in the score, all of which are recognizable and support a cleverly original, funny, and heartwarming twist on the Santa tale. We look forward to seeing many productions around the Wonderful world.”

Information about licensing What A Wonderful World will be available on MTI’s website in the coming months.

JEREMY DESMON (Bookwriter) is an award-winning musical theatre bookwriter, lyricist and playwright whose stories have played throughout the world. The Girl in the Frame earned him the Edward Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre Bookwriting and London’s Guardian called his upcoming, Broadway- bound musical, Pump Up The Volume, “raucous and ribald… with a rousing, anthemic score.” The Last Summer, his darkly comic, politically-charged new musical, written with composer Jeff Thomson, recently completed its Broadway tryout starring Tony-winner Alex Newell. Recent credits include: the hit “revisal” of Good News at Goodspeed Musicals, the One-Hit-Wonder-filled jukebox musical, One Hit Wonder, the post-modern musical comedy The Oliver Experiment, the musical mystery The Ladies Quick: Family Is Murder, the hilarious touring tuner Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number and the beloved musical comedy performed at hundreds of schools across America, Cyrano de BurgerShack. Jeremy also authored two high-concept, non-musical comedies: the whimsical romance, 71⁄2 Wondrous Act(s) of True Love and Mudd, a genre- bending, historical-ish comedy about the Lincoln assassination. Additionally, he has written countless touring spectacles, theme park extravaganzas and ice shows for the under-five set, featuring every Paw Patrol pup, Disney Princess, big-eared mouse, Baby Shark, furry red monster, curious monkey and magical little pony you can imagine — not to mention multiple editions of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Jeremy is an alum of Stanford University, has an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is in his fifteenth year teaching a Musical Theatre Writing workshop at Princeton University.

JESSE VARGAS (Arrangements and Orchestrations) has worked internationally as a Music Director, Arranger, Orchestrator and Music Producer. His theater credits include:  Broadway-Glory Days (Music SPV, Arrangements & Orchestrations); The Ritz (Orchestrations); Off-Broadwaybare-A Pop Opera (MD & Vocal Arrangements); Rooms-A Rock Romance (Music SPV, Arrangements & Orchestrations); Shida (MD, Add’l Arrangements); Saved; bare-A Pop Opera (2004); National Tour Music Direction-Xanadu; Barry Manilow’s Copacabana; Other- A Little More Alive (Music SPV, Arr & Orch-Kansas City Rep); Duck Commander (Music SPV, Arr & Orch-The Rio, Las Vegas); White Noise (MD, Arr & Orch-Chicago 2011); One Hit Wonder (Arr & Orch); Peep Show (Orchestrations-Vegas, 2009-2013); Asphalt Beach (Orchestrations); Bright Lights, Big City; Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway 101; Hair In Concert (Orchestrations-Grammy Nominated Album);  Pippin (Dance Arr.-2006 Tour).  Jesse has served as music director & arranger for Clay Aiken; the funk/soul band Nick Blaemire and The Hustle, as well as the The Midtown Men, starring the original cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys”. He’s produced, arranged & orchestrated albums for Scott Alan, Kooman & Dimond, Daniel Reichard, Michael Longoria, and Brian Justin Crum.  Jesse is the Music Supervisor of the entertainment company FOR THE RECORD LIVE! He’s supervised, arranged, and orchestrated FTR-Live’s productions of BAZ-STAR CROSSED LOVE (Las Vegas); The Brat Pack Live (Norwegian Cruise Lines & Los Angeles); Tarantino-Live (Los Angeles & London); and the critically acclaimed “Love Actually”-Live!, a multi-media celebration of the hit holiday classic film. Jesse was recently the MD, arranger and orchestrator of Invincible-The Musical, which featured the songs of Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, whom he worked closely with throughout development.  Jesse has produced and arranged music for the Germany’s Europa Park and MSC Cruise Lines. He’s also written original songs for Warner Brothers Studios and Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge.  TV credits include: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Orchestrations) and Good Trouble (Original Song “Fat Bitch”-Composer & Arrangement). @Jesse_vargas_music

THE TITUSVILLE PLAYHOUSE is a thriving not-for-profit theatre located in Titusville, Florida. Celebrating 60 years of theatre excellence on the Space Coast of Florida, operating two distinct performance venues in downtown Titusville. The Mainstage theatre is an intimate space with luxury seating and a proscenium stage, and the STAGE 2 is an open- air pavilion with amphitheater-style seating. Titusville Playhouse produces diverse and welcoming programming for the entire community. Under the leadership of Steven J. Heron Executive and Artistic Director, Titusville Playhouse has grown into a highly respected theatre in the region. Titusville Playhouse is currently working with Theatre Projects and HKS Architects and has launched a Capital Campaign for a new state of the art theatre complex that will seat 550 and transform Historic Downtown Titusville as well as the arts across Central Florida. For additional information please visit

MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.

MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 100,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 150 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior® shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.

MTI maintains its global headquarters in New York City (, with additional offices in London (MTI Europe:, and Melbourne (MTI Australasia:

LIVELY MCCABE ENTERTAINMENT is a theatrical development and acquisition company founded in 2017 by former Disney executive Michael Barra. The company is best known for its collection of theatrical properties including: CLUE: A NEW COMEDY (currently touring the US) and its UK siblings CLUEDO, and CLUEDO 2 (currently touring the UK), the musical adaptation of MYSTIC PIZZA which is touring the US next season, country music musical MAY WE ALL (developed with Florida Georgia Line), and Joe Iconis’ PUNK ROCK GIRL!. The company is also developing the stage musical adaptation of the iconic 1988 film GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN. For more information, please visit

Ticket and Show Information can be seen at WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!

What A Wonderful World