The Plays of W.S. Gilbert

This list largely derives from those compiled by Reginald Allen, George Rowell and Philip Plumb. The first performance of each play is given wherever possible.

The collaborations with Sullivan are indicated with asterisks.

I am grateful to Stan DeOrsey for his suggestions and help with this list.

When the play has been printed in a collection of Gilbert's works, I have added a code to indicate this. This is what the initials stand for:

OP1 - W.S. Gilbert, Original plays. London: Chatto & Windus, 1876. [Later editions add "First series" to the title, and include Iolanthe]
OP2 - W.S. Gilbert, Original plays: second series. London: Chatto & Windus, 1881.
OP3 - W.S. Gilbert, Original plays: third series. London: Chatto & Windus, 1895.
OP4 - W.S. Gilbert, Original plays: fourth series. London: Chatto & Windus, 1911. [Later editions included The Hooligan and Trying a Dramatist]
[All four volumes of Original plays were reprinted up to about the 1930s.]
NOE - W.S. Gilbert, New and original extravaganzas. Edited and introduced by Isaac Goldberg. Boston: John W. Luce & Co., 1931.
GbS - W.S. Gilbert, Gilbert before Sullivan: six comic plays. Edited and introduced by Jane Stedman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967; London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.


The Plays.

Uncle Baby (One-Act Comedietta): Lyceum, 31/10/1863.

Ruy Blas (Burlesque): unperformed: published in Warne's Christmas Annual 1866.

Hush-a-Bye, Baby, on the Tree Top; or, Harlequin Fortunia, King Frog of Frog Island, and the Magic Toys of Lowther Arcade [written with Chas. Millard] (Pantomime): Astley's, 26/12/1866.

Dulcamara! or, The Little Duck and the Great Quack (Extravaganza): St. James's, 29/12/1866. (NOE)

La Vivandière; or, True to the Corps! (Extravaganza): St. James's Hall, Liverpool, 15/6/1867. (NOE)

Robinson Crusoe; or, The Injun Bride and the Injured Wife [written with H.J. Byron, Thomas Hood, H.S. Leigh and Arthur Sketchley] (Burlesque): Haymarket, 6/7/1867.

Allow Me To Explain (One-Act Farce): Prince of Wales's, 4/11/1867.

Highly Improbable (One-Act Farce): Royalty, 5/12/1867.

A Colossal Idea [period of composition unknown] (One-Act Farce): unperformed, published 1932.

Harlequin Cock Robin and Jenny Wren; or, Fortunatus and the Water of Life, the Three Bears, the Three Gifts, the Three Wishes, and the Little Man who Woo'd the Little Maid (Pantomime): Lyceum, 26/12/1867.

The Merry Zingara; or, The Tipsy Gipsy and the Pipsy Wipsy (Extravaganza): Royalty, 21/3/1868. (NOE)

Robert the Devil; or, The Nun, the Dun, and the Son of a Gun (Extravaganza): Gaiety, 21/12/1868. (NOE)

No Cards (One-Act Musical Entertainment): Gallery of Illustration, 29/3/1869. Music by German Reed/Lionel Elliott? (GbS)

The Pretty Druidess; or, The Mother, the Maid, and the Mistletoe Bough (Extravaganza): Charing Cross, 19/6/1869. (NOE)

An Old Score [Revived at Court (25/11/1872) as Quits] (Three-Act Comedy): Gaiety, 26/7/1869.

Ages Ago (One-Act Musical Entertainment): Gallery of Illustration, 22/11/1869. Music by Frederic Clay. (GbS)

A Medical Man (One-Act Farce): Published in Clement Scott's Drawing-Room Plays (1870): Performed St. George's Hall 24/10/1872.

The Princess (Blank-Verse Parody of Tennyson's Poem in Five Scenes): Olympic, 8/1/1870. (OP1)

The Gentleman in Black (Two-Act Musical Play): Charing Cross, 26/5/1870. Music by Frederic Clay. (OP4)

Our Island Home (One-Act Musical Entertainment): Gallery of Illustration, 20/6/1870. Music by German Reed. (GbS)

The Palace of Truth (Three-Act Fairy Comedy): Haymarket, 19/11/1870. (OP1)

The Brigands [translated from Les Brigands by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy] (Three-Act Comic Opera): Published by Boosey, 1871: performed Theatre Royal, Plymouth 2/9/1889. Music by Jacques Offenbach.

Randall's Thumb (Three-Act Comedy): Court, 25/1/1871. (OP4)

A Sensation Novel (Musical Entertainment in Three "Volumes"): Gallery of Illustration, 30/1/1871. Music by German Reed. (GbS)

Creatures of Impulse (One-Act Musical Play): Court, 28/4/1871. Music by Alberto Randegger. (OP4)

Great Expectations [adapted from the Dickens novel] (Drama): Court, 29/5/1871.

On Guard (Three-Act Comedy): Court, 28/10/1871.

Pygmalion and Galatea (Three-Act Fairy Comedy): Haymarket, 9/12/1871. (OP1)

* Thespis; or, The Gods Grown Old (Two-Act Comic Opera): Gaiety, 26/12/1871. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP4)

Happy Arcadia (One-Act Musical Entertainment): Gallery of Illustration, 28/10/1872. Music by Frederic Clay. (GbS)

The Wicked World (Three-Act Fairy Comedy): Haymarket, 4/1/1873. (OP1)

The Happy Land [written under the pseudonym of F. Tomline, with Gilbert à Beckett] (Two-Act Burlesque of The Wicked World): Court, 3/3/1873.

The Realm of Joy [written as F. Latour Tomline: freely adapted from Le Roi Candaule by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy: also known as The Realms of Joy] (One-Act Farce): Royalty, 18/10/1873.

The Wedding March [written as F. Latour Tomline: translated from Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie by Eugène Labiche] (Three-Act Farce): Court, 15/11/1873.

Charity (Four-Act Drama): Haymarket, 3/1/1874. (OP1)

Ought We To Visit Her? [adapted from the novel by Mrs Annie Edwardes] (Three-Act Drama): Royalty, 17/1/1874.

Committed For Trial [written as F. Latour Tomline: translated from Le Reveillon by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy] (Two-Act Farce): Globe, 24/1/1874.

The Blue-Legged Lady [no author named: translated from La Dame aux Jambes d'Azur by Eugène Labiche and Marc-Michel] (One-Act Farce): Court, 4/3/1874.

Topseyturveydom (One-Act Extravaganza): Criterion, 21/3/1874. Music by Alfred Cellier.

Sweethearts (Two-Act Comedy): Prince of Wales's, 7/11/1874. (OP2)

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Burlesque in Three Short "Tableaux"): Published in Fun, December 1874: Performed Vaudeville, 3/6/1891. (OP3)

* Trial by Jury (One-Act Comic Opera): Royalty, 25/3/75. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP1)

Tom Cobb; or, Fortune's Toy (Three-Act Farce): St. James's, 24/4/75. (OP2)

Eyes and No Eyes; or, The Art of Seeing (One-Act Musical Entertainment): St. George's Hall, 5/7/1875. Music by German Reed. (GbS)

Broken Hearts (Three-Act Verse Drama): Court, 9/12/1875. (OP2)

Princess Toto (Three-Act Comic Opera): Theatre Royal, Nottingham, 24/6/1876. Music by Frederic Clay.

Dan'l Druce, Blacksmith (Three-Act Drama): Haymarket, 11/9/1876. (OP2)

On Bail [revised version of Committed for Trial] (Three-Act Farce): Criterion, 3/2/1877.

Engaged (Three-Act Farcical Comedy): Haymarket, 3/10/1877. (OP2)

* The Sorcerer (Two-Act Comic Opera): Opera Comique, 17/11/1877. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP2)

The Forty Thieves [written with Robert Reece, F.C. Burnand, and H.J. Byron: one performance] (Pantomime): Gaiety, 13/2/1878.

The Ne'er-Do-Weel [rewritten and restaged three weeks later as The Vagabond] (Three-Act Drama): Olympic, 25/2/1878.

* H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass that Loved a Sailor (Two-Act Comic Opera): Opera Comique, 25/5/1878. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP2)

Gretchen (Four-Act Verse Tragedy): Olympic, 24/3/1879. (OP2)

Lord Mayor's Day [translated from La Cagnotte by Eugène Labiche: Gilbert translated the first two acts before abandoning the project, but when it was produced his name did not appear] (Three-Act Farce): Folly, 30/6/1879.

* The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty (Two-Act Comic Opera): Bijou, Paignton, 30/12/1879 & Fifth Avenue, New York, 31/12/1879. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP2)

* Patience; or, Bunthorne's Bride (Two-Act Comic Opera): Opera Comique, 23/4/1881. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

Foggerty's Fairy (Three-Act Farce): Criterion, 15/12/1881. (OP3)

* Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 25/11/1882. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP1)

* Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant [revised version of The Princess] (Three-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 5/1/1884. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

Comedy and Tragedy (One-Act Drama): Lyceum, 26/1/1884. (OP3)

* The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 14/3/1885. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

* Ruddygore; or, The Witch's Curse [retitled Ruddigore after a few days] (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 22/1/1887. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

* The Yeomen of the Guard; or, The Merryman and his Maid (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 3/10/1888. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

Brantinghame Hall (Four-Act Drama): St. James's, 29/11/1888. (OP4)

* The Gondoliers; or, The King of Barataria (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 7/12/1889. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

The Mountebanks (Two-Act Comic Opera): Lyric, 4/1/1892. Music by Alfred Cellier. (OP3)

"Haste to the Wedding" [musicalised version of The Wedding March] (Three-Act Comic Opera): Criterion, 27/7/1892. Music by George Grossmith. (OP4)

* Utopia (Limited); or, The Flowers of Progress [retitled Utopia, Limited after a few days] (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 7/10/1893. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP3)

His Excellency (Two-Act Comic Opera): Lyric, 27/10/1894. Music by Osmond Carr. (OP4)

* The Grand Duke; or, The Statutory Duel (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 7/3/1896. Music by Arthur Sullivan. (OP4)

The Fortune-Hunter (Three-Act Drama): Theatre Royal, Birmingham, 27/9/1897. (OP4)

Harlequin and the Fairy's Dilemma [retitled The Fairy's Dilemma after a few days] (Two-Act Domestic Pantomime): Garrick, 3/5/1904. (OP4)

Fallen Fairies; or, The Wicked World [musicalised version of The Wicked World] (Two-Act Comic Opera): Savoy, 15/12/1909. Music by Edward German. (OP4)

The Hooligan (One-Act Drama): Coliseum, 27/2/1911. (OP4)

Trying a Dramatist (One-Act Sketch): Published in Original Plays, Fourth Series (1911): Performance details not known. (OP4)

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