Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Boxman, a New York City subway performer, wows the crowd on the train platform with his virtuosic beatboxing skills, and poses a question: "How you gonna get where you're going, if you don't know how to be where you are?" His query is lost on the harried commuters as they lament the misery of their morning commutes, their lack of control, and the fact that the MTA is forever keeping them from getting where they want to be ("Deep Beneath the City/Not There Yet").

The riders disperse, and Jane, thinking she is now alone on the platform, begins a vocal warm up in preparation for an important audition she has later that day. Boxman surprises her by adding a beat to her vocalization. She tries to stay focused and keep to herself, but quickly warms to Boxman's charm. He asks if she does stage or screen…she admits that at the moment she mostly just does her day job ("Do What I Do"). The train arrives and Jane is off to her office temping gig. Ms. Williams, her boss, asks Jane to work through lunch, which means she'll miss her big audition. Determined to finally break out of office life and do what she came to New York to do, she boldly drags the office intern along to help her proof the annual report while she's at her audition. While rushing for the train, she calls her agent, Trent, to let him know she's running a tad late but on her way.

Trent hangs up and returns his attention to his fiancé Steven. They're en route to the airport to visit Trent's widowed Momma for "Four Days Home", in Trent's hometown of Big Creek, Texas, where no one knows he is gay or that he and Steven are engaged to be married. They make it through the trip posing as roommates, but are relieved to finally get back to New York where they can be themselves.

As Trent and Steven exit the platform, Nate, a down-on-his-luck banker, struggles to get to a vital job interview despite a malfunctioning Metro Card. He explains that he's "Broke" to the booth attendant Althea, but she's unsympathetic to his plea. Boxman comes to Nate's rescue and swipes him through the turnstile so he can make it to his interview.

Jane also passes through the station, having just survived a second audition for the big part. While waiting for her train, she and Boxman have a brief exchange as fellow struggling artists. After she leaves to get to work, from the opposite platform Trent and Steven spot their friend Ali across the tracks and learn she's been dumped by Dave, the guy for whom she moved across the country. She assures them she's fine and keeping herself busy with her latest obsession-running. They try to make plans to get together but Trent and Steven are busy on Saturday, the one night of the week she's woefully free. Left to spend the evening alone in her apartment, Ali can't stop herself from reaching out to her ex ("Saturday Night Obsession").

Nate, who has taken a stopgap work at Staples, meets Chris and some other guys from his old finance job at a sports bar. Nate is forced to reveal that he's low on cash and not doing well with the ladies lately. To cheer him up, Chris offers his services as Nate's "Wingman." The plan is successful, and Nate meets Jane (also at the bar with co-workers). Nate and Jane hit it off and break from the group to grab hotdogs at Papaya King. After talking about work and life and laughing at shared subway ad absurdities. Nate steals a quick kiss as Jane transfers trains. Jane says she'll call. On their separate ways home, they allow themselves to get carried away and dream that this could be the love of their life…before catching themselves and sensibly shrugging off the idea ("But Ya Know"). Throwing caution to the wind, Jane dials the number Nate gave her, but is disappointed to hear the number is out of service.

The next day, Trent crosses paths with Ali (fresh from running a half marathon) and tells her she can bring whomever she wants to the wedding. In a private moment, Ali confesses she's not quite ready to move on yet and makes a call. On the other end of the line, Nate is revealed to be Ali's brother, and agrees to be her plus one at the wedding. Elsewhere, Trent, Jane, and Althea also separately wonder if they'll ever get where they want to be in life ("Not There Yet (Reprise)").

A few days later, Jane and Boxman greet one another in the station and Jane tells him that the final round of the audition went really well and it's now down to her and one other person. But waiting for this life-changing news is driving her absolutely crazy. Boxman tells her when he feels that way, he calms himself by tuning into the rhythm of the city. This pulls us into a fantasy sequence where we hear the city as Boxman hears it - full of the multilayered rhythms and music of the people who "Keep It Goin'." By the end of the song, Jane lands her big Broadway part.

Trent and Steven have a fight when Trent finds out Steven sent a card to Trent's momma, pretending to be Trent, and bought her a plane ticket to come visit. Trent is furious but Steven makes an ultimatum: if Trent can't come clean with his family, they can't get married. Trent reluctantly agrees to finally come out to his momma during this visit.

Meanwhile, Jane is at the last day of her office job and gets the news that the producers of her show decided they need a star to sell tickets. Jane has been recast. Seeing Jane devastated, Ms. Williams gives her "A Little Life Advice" and offers her a full-time position. Needing time to process it all, Jane agrees to give Ms. Williams an answer after she returns from her upcoming weekend trip to her high school reunion in Virginia.

Back in the subway system, Boxman beatboxes for the crowd. He suddenly drops his usual routine and performs a spoken word poem about his journey to discover the beat within him.

Trent and his momma have now spent a few days together in NYC and he's finally summoned the courage to tell her that he's gay, but she won't let him get the words out. He realizes she's "Choosing Not to Know" what she actually knows. In the wake of his father's recent passing, Trent chooses, just for now, not to challenge her faith. He can't lose the one parent he still has.

Having just crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon, Ali enters a subway car and runs into Dave, whom she hasn't seen in almost a year. To add to the awkwardness, Dave's new girlfriend, Kathy, joins him at a later stop, and Ali is not only face to face with the past she's still trying to shake, but also Dave's promising new future without her. Ali learns that Kathy is moving in with Dave, and upon hearing this, she makes an excuse to leave and quickly exits the train. Alone on the platform, the last three years all come flooding back ("The Moving Song").

Nate has a final confrontation with Althea, as his MetroCard once again threatens his ability to get to an important job interview on time. As their tension comes to a head, Althea and Nate finally see one another not as obstacles in a power struggle but as fellow travelers on a journey. She implores him to go make himself useful, as she grants him access to his train.

Trent ruefully tells Steven he couldn't come out to his momma and gives his engagement ring back. Steven sees what Trent is up against and promises Trent he won't have to face this struggle alone. Getting down on one knee right there on the floor of the dirty subway car, Steven proposes (again). Elated, they decide not to wait one more minute to be married, and hop the train directly to City Hall - the big reception will come later when Momma can be a part of it. Meanwhile, Nate learns that Ali is planning to move home to Seattle to save money to finish her graduate degree. He makes her an offer that allows Ali to go back to school but also stay in the city she's finally starting to love. All four are momentarily connected with the realization, "We Are Home".

Boxman happens upon a wear Jane, sitting alone on a subway car with a rolling suitcase. She's been riding the train all night. Twice she's gone to the end of the line and looped back around, unable to bring herself to get out at JFK and go to her reunion. She confesses that despite the years and years of desperately trying to go somewhere, she's gotten nowhere in her life romantically, financially, and professionally. She doesn't know what to do, and Boxman suggests simply trying to be where she is, right here on the A. He leaves, and she allows herself to tune into the world around her. For once, she is happy just taking in the moment and content with the knowledge that she is "Getting There". As she quickly exits the station, Jane unexpectedly bumps into Nate. He explains that his phone service suffered a brief interruption, he's landed a great job as a New York City teaching fellow, and he's excited to see her. Jane, equally pleased with this second chance encounter (courtesy of the MTA), invites him to live in the moment and go for a walk above ground.

The action jumps forward in time, revealing the fate of each of our main characters. Ali enters in a lab coat, and we see images of her graduation day from her sports medicine degree program. Trent and Steven appear in tuxes and toss a bouquet, as we see pictures of their wedding reception (with Momma). Jane and Nate enter, Nate wearing a baby carrier with their newborn and Jane bidding her family farewell, en route to another audition. And finally, Althea, the booth lady enters as a candidate for NYC Mayor, sporting a red pantsuit, smiling shaking hands and passing out fliers ("Finale").

Passengers come and passengers go, and the rhythm of the city keeps moving it along…