LP0200. BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA (Arthur Schwartz), Original 1954 Cast, w.Shirley Booth, Wilbur Evans, Mae Barnes, Robert Jennings, Richard France, Thomas Gleason, Mary Harmon, Larry Howard, Larry Laurence, Arthur Partington, Cindy Robbins, Eddie Roll, Gloria Smith. Capitol red label S 531.
“BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA is a musical with a book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and music by Arthur Schwartz. Like Schwartz’s previous musical, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, also starring Shirley Booth, the musical is set in Brooklyn just after the start of the 20th century (1907). BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA played on Broadway in 1954. This show reunited the team from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, which premiered several years earlier. That one is one of the best scores of Broadway's golden era. BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA does not rise to that level, but is still a very, very pleasant listen. Shirley Booth was the main draw for the show and drew rave reviews from the critics every time she appeared on Broadway, including this one. Still, even on an album, you can get a hint of her overwhelming personality and stage presence, and she's not on all that many cast recordings. Her specialty number takes advantage of and emphasizes the childlike quality of her voice. Wilbur Evans, who played Ms. Booth's love interest, got the most tuneful numbers, since he had one of the finest baritones heard on Broadway for most of two decades. We don't have nearly enough recordings of him, either. To sum up, there's a fair amount of music ranging from good to superb, and rare recorded performances from two of Broadway's best.”
- Ned Ludd