1920s Broadway. Playwright David Shayne considers himself an artist, and surrounds himself with like minded people, most struggling financially as they create art for themselves, not the masses. David, however, believes the failure of his first two plays was because he gave up creative control to other people who didn't understand the material. As such, he wants to direct his just completed third play, "God of Our Fathers", insider scuttlebutt being that it may very well make David the toast of Broadway. With David having no directing history, David's regular producer, Julian Marx, can't find any investors,... until a single investor who will finance the entire production comes onto the scene. He is Nick Valenti, a big time mobster, with the catch being that his dimwitted girlfriend, non-actress Olive Neal, get the lead role. A hesitant David and Julian, who are able to talk Nick into them giving Olive one of the two female supporting roles instead, go along with the scheme hoping that the three other actors hired will be able to make up for any deficiencies posed by Olive. What makes Olive's situation worse for David is that Nick has placed a bodyguard named Cheech - a typical thug who kills if need be - on Olive, he a constant presence at the theater during rehearsals. David is unaware or mindfully ignorant of issues concerning the other actors. Helen Sinclair, who has the lead, is a diva of an actress, who hasn't had a hit in years. Regardless, she is slyly manipulating David to make the role more glamorous befitting her real life persona than the frigid character he has written. Gossip is that Warner Purcell, the only male among the cast, has a roller coaster of a weight problem. Currently on a low, Warner tends to eat and eat and eat when when he gets stressed. And Eden Brent, a happy-go-lucky actress, has a constant companion in her pet chihuahua, Mr. Woofulls, whose presence is a constant thorn in Helen's side. With one problem after another during rehearsals, one event seems to have the potential to turn the production around on a permanent upswing,... that is if David goes along with it, he resisting if only because it would mean that his artistic vision was wrong. Regardless, there is still the potential for something to go violently wrong with Nick solely looking out for Olive's interest, and Cheech a constant presence, he seeing and hearing everything that is happening.