Backstage at the Zangler Theater, the atmosphere is bustling: stagehands run back and forth, dance captain Tess drills four girls in a routine, and onstage the deafening applause heralds the exiting row of spangled, feathered Follies Girls. Tess and her colleague Patsy are worried: they are expecting Bobby Child, an enthusiastic young hopeful, to catch Zangler at the theater for an audition, and he is very late. Bobby comes running in, still in his banker’s suit, but armed with tap shoes on his feet. Imposing, Hungarian Bela Zangler sweeps into the room, and Bobby makes a rush to engage him, but Tess and Patsy pull him away, while Zangler makes his curtain speech to a crowd of adoring fans. When he returns backstage, Bobby tries again - but Zangler pulls Tess aside, imploring his wry, sassy dance captain to accept his love. Tess reminds Zangler that he is a married man, before sweeping out, leaving Bobby to try out his tap routine (“K-R-A-Z-Y For You”) on an irritated Zangler.
After being rudely dismissed, a dejected Bobby lingers on the street outside the theater, unsuccessfully cheered by the sympathetic Tess and Patsy, when he is approached by his fiance, the glamorous and steely socialite Irene Roth. The Follies Girls make a hasty retreat as Irene berates Bobby for his foolish theatrical ambitions, and the fact