By 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.
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.
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.
(in order of appearance):
Chorus of Dancers: Singers:
Scenes and settings: