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 that after five years, he refuses to set a wedding date. They are soon joined by Bobby’s equally steely mother, Mrs. Lottie Child, the head of the bank where Bobby is unwillingly employed. Lottie and Irene bicker with each other about Bobby’s future, while Bobby escapes into a daydream, accompanied by the spritely Follies Girls (“I Can’t Be Bothered Now.”) When he returns to reality, Bobby receives an ultimatum from his mother: the bank is very disappointed in his performance, but will give him one more chance if he goes to Deadrock, Nevada, to get a pre-foreclosure signature on a deed of property. The prospect is bleak, but when Irene demands