An ambitious, restless writer is the resident playwright of a struggling repertory company, whose members reflect the European melting pot that is New York at the turn of the (previous) century. He is eager to stage his unfinished new play, but the theatre owners are not convinced the work is ready. The playwright has written the script specifically for the woman he loves, the company's acclaimed actress / manager.
When a young actor collapses during a performance of a play currently running, the playwright boldly contrives to substitute his own play for an audience that includes a powerful, flamboyantly foppish drama critic.
The critic savages the play, but the company sees an opportunity for a reappraisal by the influential reviewer. The critic has become infatuated with a handsome cast member, who reluctantly agrees to a private meeting with the critic, who in turn attempts a unique seduction.
Meanwhile, a celebrated but aging theatrical diva, much impressed with the new play, takes a scheming professional and personal interest in the playwright, offering him the chance for international fame as her personal playwright (and kept lover).
Our hero and his love interest are ultimately reconciled, but not before the ensemble cast plays out a bittersweet erotic farce exploring all the aspects of love and its imperfections: lust, loyalty, ambition, betrayal, rediscovery and the triumph of the imagination.
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