Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Act One

The curtain rises to reveal the façade of the Executive Mansion in 1901. The atmosphere has a dark, dingy, cluttered Victorian look. Delicate pieces of black crepe cover the windows and furniture. A portrait of the late President McKinley is draped in black. Edith Roosevelt enters, followed by all of the Roosevelt children, carrying various toys, animals, books and belongings. Finally, Theodore Roosevelt charges in and observes the sad atmosphere. He tells everyone that although it is sad about President McKinley's untimely passing, he now has the job of getting the country back in shape ("This House"). The reporters then question Roosevelt and become most interested in the behavior displayed by his daughter, Alice, who has been seen smoking in public and betting at the racetracks. Roosevelt avoids the questions and goes off to play football with his children, much to the dismay of the other politicians watching on.

Later, on the White House yard, a 1901 automobile speeds by and crashes into a tree. It is a Stanley Steamer being driven by Alice, with her siblings and Nick Longworth as the passengers. A displeased officer arrives to write out a summons for Alice; she was driving fifteen miles per hour in a ten m.p.h. zone. They attempt to explain that all of the havoc was due to Alice's pet snake getting loose in the front seat. Teddy enters to survey the situation. It appears that Alice and Eleanor were over at the House, listening to the debate on the Panama Canal, where they met Congressman Nick Longworth, who offered them a lift home. They all argue with Teddy about the the canal, but he gets them to remove the car from the lawn. The reporters, meanwhile, question Alice about her crazy behavior. When asked about possibly marrying Senator Longworth, Alice reminds everyone that she has a lot to do before settling down ("But Not Right Now")

In the President's Office, Teddy takes out a large map and lays it on the floor. He and his cabinet members begin discussing the crisis in Panama. Unfortunately, everything seems to stop when Alice comes in to talk with her father. Not only is she seeking permission to have a coming-out party in the Rose Garden, but she also offers political advice about the Panama Canal. After Teddy and Alice leave, the cabinet members begin to wonder who's running the country ("She's Got to Go").

Lights come up to reveal Alice's bedroom on a different day. Alice is talking with Eleanor about her relationship with Nick. Eleanor disapproves of Nick, but Alice admits that she loves dating an older man. Alice also shows Eleanor a box that her Aunt gave her as a coming-out present. It was a present that Teddy gave her mother on the night of Alice's birth. The box was never opened, since Alice's mother died only hours after she was born. Teddy was so devastated by his first wife's passing that he never allows anybody to even mention her name. Eleanor and Alice then discuss their own dealings with men in more detail. Eleanor has a mad crush on Franklin, who doesn't even notice her. For her, love speaks in whispers and is very soft. Alice, on the other hand, sees it as flashes and Roman candles ("The Fourth of July").

Eleanor is beginning to get a bit wild and even starts to imagine things the way that Alice does. Eleanor then leaves to catch a train to New York just as Teddy is coming in to talk with Alice. He wants to know why she would invite Nick Longworth to the coming-out party. She quickly changes the topic and asks for her father's opinion on a dress. When Alice finally shows him the box that her aunt gave her, he swipes it from her and storms out, proclaiming that Alice Lee must never be spoken of!

Some days later in the Presidential Bedroom Suite, Edith is reading to the children. Upon finishing the story, she attempts to convince the children to get ready for Alice's party. Instead, they convince her to let them play San Juan Hill, with Ethel dressing as Teddy. Teddy enters and proclaims that he will play "the colonel" while everyone else acts as the soldiers. He and the children act out the battle ("Charge").

Afterwards, Alice enters in her gown, demanding that everyone get dressed for her party. After a bit of reluctance, they all go off to change while Teddy and Edith sit and ruminate about Alice growing up and their own relationship. Alice re-enters, looking ravishing in her blue gown. They hear the guests begin to arrive, and Teddy and Alice go off to greet them while Edith goes to put the final touches on her woman's armor. She reflects on how Alice's maturing has brought Teddy's first wife back into the picture ("Battle Lines").

Out in the Rose Garden, the guests are dancing. Nick is dancing with Alice – Teddy notices this and has a pretty woman talk to Nick. Teddy then sweeps Alice into a dance. Oddly, a ghost figure of Alice Lee appears and moves in unison with Alice. Teddy is caught off guard ("The Coming-out Party Dance"). Finally, the dance ends, and Nick moves in to talk with Alice. Alice, always the one to stir up controversy, decides that she wants the party to get wild and leads everyone in a naughty turn-of-the century dance. At the end, even Teddy and Edith have joined in with the kids.

Once again, Nick is noticed talking with Alice, and Teddy pulls her away. Nick realizes that even though he's crazy about Alice, he must step back and remember that she is the President's daughter ("Not Love"). The cabinet members, on the other hand, see just how crazy Nick is about Alice and they egg him on to go after Alice. Privately, they feel that Alice in the arms of another man will benefit the President and his control over the country.

Several months have passed. It is 3AM, and Alice is not home – Teddy paces back and forth nervously. Edith attempts to calm him down. It is clear that Teddy is upset because she's been seeing Nick for the past three months. After Edith retreats to bed, Teddy thinks about his daughter and the job that he has done in raising her ("Her Father's Daughter").

Alice finally comes home and brings Nick in for a late night snack. Alice invites Teddy to join them, but Teddy tells them to run along – he is not hungry. As they are about to leave, Teddy impulsively tells Alice that he is planning to send her on a four-month goodwill tour of the Orient. Alice is excited, but Nick sees this as a plot to separate them. Alice is too excited to see it. Nick, upset by the sudden news, speaks out ("Perfect for Each Other"). Alice tries to assure Nick that everything will be okay.

Three weeks later, the senior advisors are discussing how Teddy has successfully vetoed the romance between Alice and Nick. They decide that they must find a way for Nick to go along with Alice to the Orient ("He's Got to Go"). They get a ticket for Nick aboard the same ship.

After Alice leaves, J.P. Morgan and other senior advisors confront Teddy, telling him that they don't want him to run for President. It seems that his conservation policies have alienated many groups and his handling of the Panama Canal is disastrous. They vow that they will oppose his attempt at a second term; Teddy insists that he will fight even harder now.

At the 1904 Republic National Convention, protesters are creating a stir by proclaiming that Roosevelt is a tsar, a Socialist and a tyrant. Teddy tells J.P. Morgan and others that he is indeed a radical, but that he is fighting for human need, rather than human greed ("Wave the Flag"). As he continues rallying, the convention gets behind him and amazingly nominates him for President.

Act Two

Summer 1904. In the entrance hall of the White House, Teddy is on the phone. He learns of Alice's wild behavior as U.S. ambassador to the Orient. To his dismay, he also hears that Nick Longworth is with her ("The Fourth of July – Reprise"). Suddenly, Alice enters. She has returned from her trip, and the father-daughter duo embraces. When Teddy sees Nick, however, he yells at him for courting his daughter. Nick quickly tells him that he had a mandate from Congress. Before the argument can escalate, Alice's other siblings run on demanding that she give them their exotic presents, and she goes off. Nick asks to talk with Teddy privately, but rather than give in, the President avoids him by getting everyone to go for a bit of wild exercise.

Eleanor and a number of ladies come to the White House for a tea party and are dying to know all about Alice's trip. Most of all, they want to know what happened with Nick. Alice dresses them in grass skirts and does a hula. She also gives them Japanese fans. She is making every attempt to avoid conversing about Nick. The girls insist that Alice tell them, so she finally relents. She speaks of their romantic adventures and confesses that she is now seeing "fireworks." Alice admits that she isn't sure if she wants to marry him but she is in love with Nick, nevertheless.

In the North Portico, Teddy is still being followed by an exhausted Nick, who finally blurts out that he wants to marry Alice. It seems that Alice won't discuss marriage with him until she has her father's approval. Teddy continues leading everyone in exercise, and Nick continues to follow as the entire group moves outside of the White House. Teddy finally tells Nick that he will not approve. Nick is defeated and angry – Alice runs to his rescue. Nick tries to get her to run off and marry him, but she reminds him that he promised not to discuss the marriage until her father approves. Nick tells her that she can't live in her father's sheltered world forever or she may lose a husband in the process ("Nothing to Lose"). After a bit of thought, she realizes that she has to convince her father somehow.

On election night, Teddy and his cronies wait as the results come in. It appears that he is losing; the unions have banded together and told their members not to vote for him. In a fit of rage, Teddy storms off, and the advisors recount their grim warning to the President ("We Told Him So").

In his office, Teddy is upset as he thinks about having to leave the White House. Just then, Alice bursts in to tell her father that she must marry Nick ("Perfect for Each Other – Reprise"). Teddy has no intention of giving in to his daughter's wishes. Alice runs off tearfully as Edith comes in. She tells Teddy that it is time to let Alice go. Teddy forbids her to say any more. She, too, runs off in tears. Alone, Teddy takes the gift box and opens it. Inside is a music box, and as it plays, he remembers all that has passed.

Later that night, Teddy is camping out in the woods with his children. After tucking them all in, he stands, lost in thought, as the ghost of Alice Lee appears. She tells him that she's having a baby. Other ghosts appear to congratulate him on the birth of his new daughter. The ghost of his brother then appears, telling him to see his wife – she has passed. Edith and others arrive, ending his encounter with the ghosts of his past. They proclaim that he's going to win the election by a landslide. After all of the celebration, Teddy sends them inside. He ponders the situation with Alice ("Can I Let Her Go?").

Alice finally enters and congratulates her father on his victory. He talks with her about her mother. He then takes the music box out of his pocket and gives it to her... as a wedding present. Alice throws her arms around her father, crying as they go off to celebrate his victory.

Waiting at the wedding of Alice and Nick, everyone is sitting and expressing their own feelings about the new companionship ("Private Thoughts"). The senior cabinet, Alice's brothers and Edith are all happy. Alice finally enters and marries Nick ("This House – Reprise").