From Act I Prompt Book of the Pirates of Penzance available from the V&A Theatre Collection
The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Theatre & Performance Department has digitised several of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s original prompt books, which were used in the end of the 19th century at the Savoy Theatre in the productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
Some of the prompt books digitised include The Mikado, Princess Ida and the Pirates of Penzance which all date from the 1880s. It will undoubtedly serve as a useful tool for those researching musical theatre of London in the late 19th century.
One could speculate that Mike Leigh, the director of the movie Topsy Turvy or a member of his production staff, might have consulted these very prompt books to give an air of authenticity to their movie.
“Three Little Maids” Trio from The Mikado available from the V&A Theatre Collection
Mike Leigh’s version
To see the full range and download a copy visit the V&A site: http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance/objects_theatre_performance/doyly_carte/index.html