Show History



Tin Pan Ali is a musical comedy with book and lyrics by Jeremy James Taylor (founding artistic director of the National Youth Music Theatre) and music by David Nield. It is an adaptation of the classic story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, one of the more notable parts of the chronicle, One Thousand and One Nights. However, Taylor and Nield moved the story to the setting of Prohibition-era Chicago, making the titular character a street sweeper and the thieves a group of inept gangsters. They also include a somewhat "meta" element of Ali Baba's story being told by Princess Scheherazade to forestall her execution. The title of the musical is a pun on "Tin Pan Alley," the collection of New York music publishers and songwriters in the late nineteenth century.


Tin Pan Ali premiered with the National Youth Music Theatre (then known as the Children's Music Theatre), under its original title of The Sesame Street Racket. The theatre put up a production in 1979 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, (with which it consistently performed its original material). British playwright and actor Ray Cooney then asked Jeremy James Taylor to bring the musical to the West End, at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Subsequent productions of the musical occurred in 1982 and 1997.


  • Celebrities who have performed in Tin Pan Ali include: Jamie Bell, Sheridan Smith, Mike Jibson, Malinda Pariss, Tim McMullen, Charlotte Riby, Philip Cumbus and Delroy Atkinson.