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Coming up RosesThe Broadway Musical in the 1950s$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.001.0001

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By the Beautiful Sea & Plain and Fancy

By the Beautiful Sea & Plain and Fancy

Chapter:
(p.119) 8 By the Beautiful Sea & Plain and Fancy
Source:
Coming up Roses
Author(s):

Ethan Mordden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.003.0008

The problem with By the Beautiful Sea (1954) was that all the Shiriey Booth in the world could not fill a show without a story. The Herbert and Dorothy Fields book was less interested in character than in maintaining a steady tempo in moving back and forth among the three big sets: one, the backyard of Lottie's theatrical boarding house; two, the Coney Island midway of ferris wheel, Steeplechase Park, and tunnel of love; and three, the Dreamland Casino. In between, obligatory for the scene changes, were the little scenes in one. That meant that a goodly portion of the action was given over to incidentals involving singing waiters, sailors and their dates, and so on. In contrast, Plain and Fancy (1955) is a musical comedy that one could easily resuscitate, because its strength lies in its story and characters and score: musical comedy as an author's triumph.

Keywords:   By the Beautiful Sea, Shirley Booth, Plain and Fancy, story, characters, score

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