Various examples from the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas:
- The bit in The Pirates of Penzance where the Pirate King engages in a sword fight with the baton-wielding conductor of the orchestra was originally improvised by John Clark, the actor who originated the role on Broadway. Sullivan, who personally conducted the orchestra during the opening performance, so enjoyed hamming it up a little that he convinced Gilbert to rewrite the script to include it. Most performances of Penzance still feature such a fight.
- In Patience, there is a scene where Bunthorne's admirers are commiserating on their unrequited love for him. Gilbert scripted the following exchange, minus the final line, introduced by the actress playing Saphir but liked by Gilbert so much it is now part of the script:
Ella: The love of maidens is, to him, as interesting as the taxes!
Saphir: Would that it were. He pays his taxes!
Angela: And cherishes the receipts!
Saphir: Happy receipts!
- The Mikado has perhaps more of this than any other Gilbert and Sullivan play (e.g. "Modified rapture!") Gilbert himself encouraged producers to do the same: The "Knightsbridge" line invites the director to substitute a place known for scandal at the time instead of saying "Knightsbridge."
- At this point, it's probably easier to list the productions of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals that don't throw in a few topical or local references. Ko-Ko's "little list" song (which describes various people the world could easily do without) is particularly susceptible to additions.