Act One

In 1906, at a rural depot in Connecticut, a New York City typing girl named Sarah and a local farmer named Walter are saying goodbye after having met and fallen in love during Sarah’s weeklong vacation (the sheltered girl’s first trip outside the city). They pledge to marry after the harvest, when he will come fetch her, and she joins the throng on the train ("Waiting for the 3:05"/"The Journey of My Life"). Upon returning to Manhattan, Sarah discovers her boarding house has burned, her landlady has died and her best friend and fellow boarder has fled. She is suddenly homeless, friendless and, after being fired for being late back to work, jobless ("In Just a Week"). She shares her dream of the country ("Simplicity") with a sympathetic Irish landlady, Miss Flanagan, who gives her a room. Sarah updates Walter in a letter ("Letter No. 1"). On a nearby sidewalk, she is accosted by the Schulenbergs, German immigrants eager to get customers into their new Greenwich Village restaurant ("Wie Geht’s"). A scrappy waiter (and closet songwriter) named Adam is charmed by Sarah, while the other customers grumble that the menu is indecipherable ("Something a la Carte"). Sarah offers to type clean menus, and the Schulenbergs agree to pay her three meals a day, to be delivered by Adam, who imagines a future with Sarah ("Wait and See"). Sarah updates Walter again ("Letter No. 2"). Later, Adam makes meal deliveries as Miss Flanagan tries, and fails, to get housebound Sarah out into the world ("Serving Sarah Smith"/"Maybe We Should Leave Her Alone"). Miss Flanagan suggests that a stroll through the Indian summer air might loosen up Sarah, and the neighborhood comes alive ("August Again"). Sarah is seduced by the activity, but she is angered by an innocent remark made by Adam. Miss Flanagan asks Sarah to type copies of The Declaration of Sentiments for a suffrage meeting. Hannah, the Schulenbergs' daughter, explains the document ("Our Day Has Come") and Sarah finds herself inspired. She writes Walter of her typing job for the cause ("Letter No. 4") and remains hopeful he will come find her soon. At a tea party arranged by Miss Flanagan, Sarah, frustrated that Walter is incommunicado, vents her anger at Adam ("I Really Don’t Care").

Act Two

Adam’s deliveries stop after a few days, prompting Sarah to inquire at Schulenberg’s. Business is so bad they may close down. Pointing to a neglected piano in the corner of the restaurant, Sarah suggests live performances, with Adam playing piano ("Music on the Menu"). Schulenberg likes the idea but insists that Sarah sing, and she accepts the offer reluctantly. At a rehearsal, Adam presents a song for Sarah to sing ("Georgian Lullaby"), but Sarah feels it’s too specific to his immigrant experience. Admitting they share common ground as "orphans," Adam and Sarah agree that they will sing together at Schulenberg's, and over the course of three weeks the act becomes a hit ("In Harmony"). On the closing night of their program, Adam and Sarah celebrate by wandering the quiet neighborhood ("A Midnight Walking Tour"), and grow closer. Later, Sarah admits to Miss Flanagan that she has feelings for Adam, but is still thinking of her farmer. The wiser Miss Flanagan offers autobiographical advice ("Letting Go"). At Schulenberg’s, days later, the thriving owners prepare for the new Sarah Smith opening (she’s billed as the “Voice of the City”) and dream of a big future ("At Schulenberg’s"). Before Sarah can act on her feelings for Adam, Walter suddenly appears! Through twists of fate, their letters over the past months never arrived. While searching for her in the city, he found her via a menu card he read at a German restaurant. (In an example of an emotionally-fraught typo, the menu included “Chopped Walter Franklin with Adam Greens.”) With some prompting ("The Proposal"), Sarah agrees to honor their previous vow and return to the country. After the lovers leave, Miss Flanagan laments Sarah’s choice ("Letting Go" Reprise), and Adam, a novice at love, is heartsick over the loss ("I Never Knew"). At Grand Central Depot, Sarah has a sense of déjà vu ("Waiting for the 5:03"), and the sight of two suffragettes stirs her to process all that she’s learned over the past few months ("Two Women"), concluding, as their train boards, that waiting for life to happen isn’t living at all. She knows who she is, and where she belongs. Back at Schulenberg’s, a glum Adam prepares to go on as a solo act ("In Harmony" Reprise) but Sarah appears, suitcase in hand, having opted to embrace a community she has come to love.