Clive Nolan's Top 5 Rock Musicals

Clive Nolan is bringing his musical Alchemy to London for a run in the summer. There will be evening performances Off West End at the Jermyn Street Theatre by the Caamora Theatre Company, from August 12-16, with a matinee show as well on the last day. The theatre is close to Piccadilly Circus, and is renowned for putting on productions which are adventurous and bold.

The show will feature eight actors in all, and they’ll be playing the 11 characters Mark Westwood is to oversee the sound and instrumental side. There will only be 70 tickets on sale for each of the six performances These cost £17 before July 12, and £22 afterwards. You can get these at

“Of necessity, this is a scaled down production,” says Nolan. “All the music is on backing tracks, as there’s no room for musicians. And we will also have a video screen. I’m hoping this will attract the sort of attention that might persuade someone with imagination to give us the chance to stage this as a bigger production.”


“I thought long and hard about my choices. This is a personal selection, in no particular order, and if people question whether these are rock operas, well… this is the way I see it.”


“It makes a change for the TSO to do an album that’s not about Christmas. It took a year for me to play the album after I was given it. But it’s got everything that makes a fine rock opera. Good story, strong melodies and huge music. I saw them play it live in London, and it was very entertaining.”


“The original album was so impressive, with a huge array of musical talent involved, plus the great Richard Burton as narrator. The story itself is a classic, and while I have never seen the show live, I have watched a video of it, and it’s just epic! This is really timeless.”


“An early example of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in action. It worked in every medium, from album to the theatre to the movie. The songs have lasted, and the story itself inspires great performances. It’s one of the finest examples of a rock opera.”


“There will be people who won’t see this as a rock opera. But for me it certainly qualifies. Sure, there’s just the one singer, but he is playing different characters. It’s just a shame this has never had the full theatrical treatment, as I can imagine it would come alive.”


“Another album that would benefit from a full stage production. It’s edge, heavy and has real political statements to make. Actually, this is an album I haven’t listened to for ages, but I can hear it in my head, and having spoken about it, I now want to listen to it again.”

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.