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Cover to original cast recordingBy the Beautiful Sea

A Musical in Two Acts, 15 Scenes. Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields. Music by Arthur Schwartz. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

Opened 8 April 1954 at the Majestic Theatre, moved 4 October 1954 to the Imperial Theatre and closed 27 November 1954 after 270 performances.


As the curtain rises, in the summer of 1907, vaudeville performer Lottie Gibson is coming home from a tour, to the theatrical boarding house where she and her father lived, near the beach at Coney Island, in Brooklyn. Everyone is glad to see her. The new boarders include a determined stage mother, Flora Busch and her lovely daughter Baby Betsy, who, at 17, is anything but a baby. Mrs. Busch makes Betsy act and dress like a little girl so she can still play child parts onstage, but Betsy pines for handsome young Mickey Powers, one of the singing waiters at the nearby Dreamland Casino. He feels the same way, but - believing the little-girl act - regrets that she's too young.

On the Midway, thronged with fun-seekers, Lottie strolls with Dennis Emery, a down-on-his-luck Shakespearean actor with whom she has fallen in love. As they ride through the Midway's romantic Old Mill, Dennis confesses to Lottie that the feeling is mutual. When they return to the boarding house, Lottie prepares to lend Dennis $1,000, only to learn that her father has invested that money in the Old Mill. Her disappointment lifts a little when her cook and housekeeper Ruby cheers her up.
In order to get the money to help Dennis, Lottie decides she will win the reward a Midway concessionaire is offering to anyone who will make a parachute jump from a balloon on the Fourth of July, which is the next day. Her troubles are an odd counterpoint to the ceaseless fun on the Midway. And those troubles seem to grow by the moment - she learns that Dennis was once married to Mrs. Busch and is, in fact, the father of Baby Betsy.

When the broken family is reunited, Betsy becomes bitterly jealous of Lottie's interest in her newly found father. Lottie wearily recalls the men she might have had, concluding that she will have Dennis or no one.
On the morning of the Fourth, a happy crowd gathers around the balloon and gives thanks to the despotic king without whom the American Revolution might not have happened. Lottie appears, in disguise, and successfully makes the jump. When she steps up to receive the prize money, she is appalled to find that Dennis is presenting it ... and that her disguise has failed.

Act II opens that evening at the boarding house with Ruby presiding over a lively party. When someone leaves to answer a late telephone call, Ruby warns him about taking late-night calls, since it might be the Devil. Lottie returns, humiliated and also disappointed because the prize money wasn't as much as she'd hoped - the crowd was lured away to watch a man get shot out of a cannon. But Dennis is touched by what Lottie has done, and he tells her how much he loves her. Then Lottie learns that the man shot out of the cannon was none other than her own father, and, between them, they now have the money to help Dennis.
At the Brighton Beach Theatre, where Dennis is currently headlining, Lottie performs her popular Impressions of Children act. Later, she tells Dennis she can't come between him and Betsy and, so, she must give him up. As she leaves, the endless crowd of Coney Island revellers sings about love. Back at the boarding house, though, Lottie is faced with a furious Betsy, who confronts her one last time about her relationship with Dennis. Lottie has an idea: She gives Betsy one of her old dresses, which finally allows the girl to look like the teen-age beauty she is. Betsy is so grateful that she is completely won over. Together, they go to the Dreamland Casino, where Betsy finds a stunned and delighted Mickey. It so happens Dennis is there, too, and Lottie is at long last swept into his arms, as the curtain falls.


(in order of appearance):

Cora Belmont
Molly Belmont
Lillian Belmont
Ruby Monk
Mrs. Koch
Carl Gibson
Lottie Gibson

Baby Betsy Busch
Mickey Powers
Dennis Emery
Flora Busch
Willie Slater
Mr. Curtis
Burt Mayer

Chorus of Dancers: Singers:


Musical Numbers:

  1. Mona from Arizona - Quartet
  2. The Sea Song - Lottie, Boarders, Neighbours
  3. Old Enough to Love - Mickey
  4. Coney Island Boat - Lottie, Half-note, Visitors (Counter Melody In the Good Old Summertime by Ben Shields and George Evans.)
  5. Alone Too Long - Willie
  6. Happy Habit - Ruby
  7. Goodtime Charlie - Mickey, Lenny, Sidney, Cora, Molly, Lillian, Sports, Male Dancers, Spicy Pictures, The Vendor,
  8. Wicked Women, The Iceman, Serpentina Sal. Finale: Dancing Company.
  9. Goodtime Charlie (reprise) - Mickey, Lenny, Sidney, Cora, Molly, Lillian
  10. I'd Rather Wake Up By Myself - Lottie
  11. Hooray for George the Third - Diabolo, Visitors
  12. Hang Up - Ruby, Boarders, Neighbours
  13. Alone Too Long (reprise) - Lottie
  14. More Love Than Your Love - Willie
  15. Vaudeville: Acts on the Bill: - 1. The Three Clowns. 2. A Lady in Red. 3. Butterfly Wings.
  16. Lottie Gibson Specialty - Lottie
  17. Throw the Anchor Away - Trio and dance
  18. More Love Than Your Love (reprise) - Willie
  19. Happy Habit (reprise) - Lottie
  20. Old Enough to Love (reprise) - Mickey, Baby Betsy
  21. Finale - Entire Company


Scenes and settings:

Act 1

Scene 1: Backyard of Lottie Gibson's Boarding House. Coney Island, early 1900s.
Scene 2: Seaside Street in Coney Island.
Scene 3: The Midway at Coney Island.
Scene 4: The Old Mill.
Scene 5: Backyard of Lottie Gibson's Boarding House.
Scene 6: Midway at Coney Island.
Scene 7: Seaside Street in Coney Island.
Scene 8: Bedroom of Lottie Gibson's Boarding House.
Scene 9: The Pavilion of Fun.

Act 2

Scene 1: The Backyard of Lottie Gibson's Boarding House.
Scene 2: Stage of the Brighton Beach Theatre.
Scene 3: Dreamland Casino.
Scene 4: Lottie's Bedroom.
Scene 5: Seaside Street in Coney Island.
Scene 6: Dreamland Casino.