Babes in Toyland is an operetta composed by Victor Herbert with a libretto by Glen MacDonough, which wove together various characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes into a Christmas-themed musical extravaganza. Following the extraordinary success of their stage musical The Wizard of Oz, which was produced in New York beginning in January 1903, producer Fred R. Hamlin and director Julian Mitchell hoped to create more family musicals. MacDonough had helped Mitchell with revisions to the Oz libretto by L. Frank Baum. Mitchell and MacDonough persuaded Victor Herbert to join the production. Babes in Toyland features some of Herbert's most famous songs – among them "Toyland", "March of the Toys", "Go To Sleep, Slumber Deep", and "I Can't Do the Sum". The theme song "Toyland", and the most famous instrumental piece from the operetta, "March of the Toys", occasionally show up on Christmas compilations.
The original production opened at the Chicago Grand Opera house in June 1903, produced by Hamlin and directed by Mitchell, and toured to several East Coast cities before opening in New York in October 1903 and ran for 192 performances. This was followed by many successful tours and revivals. The piece was so popular that it spawned other "fairy-tale" shows over the next decade.