This is one of a series of posts about books used as source material for Art Song Central. (Well, sort of…)
Book Title: Babes in Toyland; A musical extravaganza
Composer: Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
My interest in this score and script began when my wife and I looked into doing a version of it with her youth theater troupe. We didn’t like any of the versions we found for license, and marveled that the original, public domain version didn’t seem to be available online.
I don’t know that I’d actually post any of the numbers from this show as individual songs, though I imagine there could be a call for “Toyland,” especially at Christmas time.
And I should mention right up front that there is some potentially offensive material in this original version of the show. For this and other reasons, one is unlikely to encounter a completely unedited performance. Indeed, the publicly available versions of this show range from heavily edited to almost completely rewritten. But since none of them satisfied us, we decided to work on our own version.
I discovered that the original 1903 script was available in the Performing Arts reading room at the Library of Congress, though no unedited copy appears to exist that I could find. Copies of the published 1903 score are far more plentiful, but none appeared to exist online.
So, my wife took a trip to the Library of Congress and photographed the 1903 script and I scanned the 1903 score, with the hope that a scholar or dramaturg wishing to make their own adaptation would not have to jump through all the hoops that we did…
We transcribed the 1903 script, making a few obvious corrections. There are a few more typos to catch, but this is the latest transcription we’ve made: Babes in Toyland 1903 Script
The score can be downloaded here: Babes in Toyland Score.
- Country Dance
- With Downcast Eye
- Never Mind BoPeep We Will Find Your Sheep
- Barney O’Flynn
- Go To Sleep, Slumber Deep
- The Birth of the Butterfly
- Opening Chorus
- A Legend
- Song of the Poet
- March of the Toys
- Military Ball
- In the Toymaker’s Workshop
- Before and After
- The Moon Will Help You Out
There are several other numbers that date from early productions which are not in this score, most notably “I can’t do the sum.”
Update: The New York Public Library blogged about the show in January of 2012, after I had posted this, and included a download link for an early script. It is different from the one on file in the LOC, and the article has much more information about the show and other musical numbers which were added or cut.