Haddon Hall
Derbyshire, England

Haste To The Wedding March by W. S. Gilbert

On November 15, 1873, Gilbert's play The Wedding March debuted at the Court Theatre, written under his pseudonym F. Latour Tomline. It was a free adaptation of Eugene Marin Labiche's Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie ("The Italian Straw Hat"). The play was first to have been called Hunting a Hat, but the title was changed to capitalize on the popularity of Wagner's "Wedding March" from his Lohengrin. The play ran for about 92 performances, into March 1874.

The name of the hero, Woodpecker Tapping, was taken from Thomas Moore's ballad, I Knew By The Smoke:
It was noon, and on flowers that languished around
In silence reposed the voluptuous bee;
Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound
But the woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree.

Poppytop, the bride's father is a market-gardener; a market-garden comprises a relatively extensive area in which vegetables are grown for market.

There are a number of references to music playing Haste to the Wedding. This refers to an popular Irish song. Perhaps this is the source of the title of the Gilbert and Grossmith operetta produced twenty years later, which is a musical version of The Wedding March.

Doctors' Commons, a destination for the wedding party in Act I, was a society of lawyers practising civil law in London. The society had buildings with rooms where its members lived and worked and a big library. Court proceedings of the civil law courts were also held in Doctors' Commons. A motion to dissolve the society was entered in 1858 and the last meeting took place in 1865. The buildings of Doctors' Commons were sold in 1865 and demolished soon after. It may have been a Gilbertian joke to propose having it visited in 1873.

The reader will recognize many snippets and phrases which have found their way into the Savoy Operas.

Click to download 0.4 MB PDF file The Wedding March : DOWNLOAD

The Wedding March has been included in the book Five W. S. Gilbert Plays. A printed copy of the book may be purchased at www.LULU.com/shop
Enter TRUTT in the Search Books box.

In 1892, W.S. Gilbert (words) and George Grossmith (music) presented the operetta Haste To The Wedding. What follows is the operetta libretto.

Click to download 0.4 MB PDF file Haste To The Wedding : DOWNLOAD

What follows is the operetta libretto of Haste To The Wedding interlaced with the play dialogue of The Wedding March. This is not intended for the casual reader.

Click to download 0.7 MB PDF file Haste To The Wedding March : DOWNLOAD

Site Map