By the Beautiful Sea is a Broadway musical with a book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and music by Arthur Schwartz.
Produced by Robert Fryer and Lawrence Carr, the Broadway production, staged by Marshall Jamison and choreographed by Helen Tamiris, opened on April 8, 1954 at the Majestic Theatre, where it ran for 270 performances. Cast included Shirley Booth and Wilbur Evans. The orchestrations were by Robert Russell Bennett, sets and lighting by Jo Mielziner, and costumes by Irene Sharaff.
Like Arthur Schwartz’ previous musical, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, also starring Shirley Booth, the musical is set in Brooklyn just after the turn of the century (1907). Shirley Booth plays the part of Lottie Gibson, a vaudeville performer, who also owned a boarding house in Coney Island (i.e., by the sea). Her clientele were show people. On one of her vaudeville tours she falls in love with a Shakespearean actor, Dennis Emery (played by Wilbur Evans). When he is to appear in Brighton, Lottie gets him to stay at her boarding house, where his divorced wife and daughter are also residents. The daughter tries to break up the romance, but Lottie succeeds in winning over the affections of both the child and the father.
The critics loved Shirley’s performance. “Everyone has long since lost his heart to Miss Booth,” exclaimed Brooks Atkinson in the New York Times.
A cast recording of the original production is available.