The curtain rises on a small circus in England in 1916. Although The Colors Are Gay, there is little interest in circuses in wartime England. Roger the Socialist runs into the tent of Victoria, the psychic and fortune teller, looking for a place to hide. The police are rounding up socialists under the authority of DORA, the Defense of the Realm Act, which makes it unlawful to be discouraging about the war. His friend Roger the Pacifist is also in hiding because of his aversion to always being told to Be A Man. Elsewhere, Leah and Hilda, the trapeze artists, read a Letter to Leah from her fiancÚ Lucas, now a soldier. A Policeman interrupts them; he is looking to arrest socialists. The three of them agree that it is necessary for young men to go to war to Protect Our Way of Life. Meanwhile, on the midway, the Rogers have a plan for hiding in the circus. They dress as a cowboy and an Indian and will be a Wild West Show. Victoria has her doubts; she explains that circus people must have talents, such as her ability to see The Future. In a puff of smoke, Teddy Roosevelt appears. He has come to England to learn more about the war in which he has been advocating US involvement. In My Boy, Teddy Roosevelt explains how American mothers will insist their sons go to war once President Woodrow Wilson joins the fight. Hilda agrees; she explains (Society and Community) the benefits the war has brought to England. Victoria enters the fray. Victoria argues with her that there is too much war, both now and in the future. The Rogers and Teddy Roosevelt are left to express their admiration, Teddy Roosevelt for Hilda and the Rogers for Victoria. Teddy Roosevelt thinks Hilda must be A Real American Girl. The Rogers decide they have fallen in love with Victoria for her mind and go off to tell her. Victoria finds Teddy Roosevelt alone and tells him (Your Country) that the United States will become an aggressor nation. Teddy Roosevelt is scandalized. When the Policeman arrives to announce (Terrible Catastrophe) that saboteurs have blown up the local munitions factory, Teddy Roosevelt denounces Victoria as a traitor, and the Policeman takes her into custody.
Act 2 opens on the eve of the Somme offensive. Lucas writes (Letter to Leah 2) how frightened he is and how doubtful he has become about the war. Back in England, the Rogers get the Policeman drunk (Death to Us) and free Victoria. In her tent alone, she realizes I Love a Boy Named Roger, but isn't sure which one she loves. Leah offers to help Victoria hide. She and Victoria are Sisters in a world of crazed aggressive men. Roger the Socialist proposes that he and Victoria escape to America disguised as Indians. Teddy Roosevelt comes across them and raps (Land of the Savage) that Americans don't like Indians. He offers to arrange their passage to Cuba instead if they will meet him at an appointed hour. Meanwhile, Leah receives a letter from Lucas, a letter written by a nurse in a field hospital. Lucas has been critically injured and will die (Your Little Boy). Teddy Roosevelt comes across Hilda, who tries to get away. He declares his admiration for A Girl Named Hilda, but she tells him he doesn't really know her. Roger the Socialist and Victoria appear for their appointed meeting with Teddy Roosevelt. It is a trap. The Policeman is there to arrest them, but Roger the Pacifist arrives, exposing Hilda as the German spy who destroyed the munitions plant. Leah lays claim to Roger the Pacifist, since Victoria has one too many boyfriends and Leah has one too few. Although Hilda is the saboteur, the Policeman arrests Roger the Socialist and Victoria. They have, after all, said discouraging things about the war, violating DORA (Reprise). They escape. Roger still wants to go to America, believing that Wilson will not enter the war. Victoria tells him he is mistaken, but as the play ends, Roger and the company tell her they need to maintain the dream of A Land of Peace.