It is a rainy night and the storytellers have gathered to comfort a little girl afraid of the coming storm. They describe the world they live in: the four gods who rule over them, (Asaka, goddess of the Earth, Agwe, god of Water, Erzulie, goddess of love, Papa Ge, demon of death), the island they live in, (the Jewel of the Antilles), and on the other side of the island, the lighter-skinned descendants of the original French plantation owners, the grand-hommes who live there ("Prologue/We Dance").
They begin to tell the story of Ti Moune, a orphan found in a tree by Mama Euralie and Tonton Julian during a storm that had flooded the village. ("One Small Girl"). Mama Euralie and Tonton Julian take Ti Moune from the tree and raise her as their own daughter, knowing that the gods had saved her from death.
Ti Moune, grows up to be a beautiful young woman, who dreams of the future and wonders why the gods had spared her life ("Waiting For Life"). The gods of Earth (Asaka), Water (Agwe), Love (Erzulie), and Death (Papa Ge) hear her lament, ("And The Gods Heard Her Prayer"). Erzulie decides that she would like to give her what she has wished for, “a grand homme to carry her away”. Papa Ge is shocked to hear that Erzulie thinks that love is stronger than death.
The gods decide that they will send her on a journey to see who will win: love or death. Agwe, the God of Water, creates a terrible monsoon on the island, which causes a young grand homme named Daniel to crash his car on a slick road ("Rain"). Fortunately, Ti Moune sees the accident and rescues him.
Ti Moune brings the injured boy home and although her parents protest, Mama Euralie eventually gives in and allows the boy to be brought into their home, as Tonton Julians sets off to the more affluent side of the island in search of the boys parents. Ti Moune’s mother notices her obsession for the injured Daniel, while Tonton Julian finds Daniel’s family behind the gates