Andrea drives a car through busy New York traffic (‘A Good Start of the Day’) and receives a phone call from Miranda who orders her to get her car from auto care, her dog from a vet, and bring them to Miranda’s house. When Andrea comes to report to Miranda that everything has been done, her boss tells her that she was supposed to bring the car and the god to the office instead of Miranda’s house. She tells her assistant that everything should be by the door of her office in 15 minutes (‘15 Minutes’).
The atmosphere in the headquarters of ‘Runway’ is tense and almost hysterical (‘The World of Fashion’). When Andrea fulfills these directions, they leave for a preliminary show of the latest collection of a prominent designer (‘Behind the Scenes’). Andrea proves to be more qualified than Emily, and Miranda decides to take Andrea on an important business trip to Paris — the fact that deeply offends and disappoints Emily (‘Paris, Je T’aime Moi Non Plus’). When Andrea comes home that night, she realizes that she forgot about her boyfriend’s birthday (‘This Not-so-special Day’), and their relationship teeters at the lip of abyss.
Miranda and Emily arrive to Paris; they attend top-notch fashion shows and receptions (‘Eurostar’). Andrea occasionally meets Christian whom she knows from New York, and the romantic atmosphere of Paris makes her spend a night with him. However, in the morning she realizes that she made a mistake and finds herself missing Nate (‘Charms Are Frail’). On board of the plane that carries her back to New York, Andrea reconsiders her lifestyle and values (‘Home Again’).
She is unhappy to return to her busy workplace (‘The World of Fashion: Reprise’). She decides to quit her job and strike a better balance between her professional and private life. Before leaving, she presents all the designer clothes to Emily (‘These Little Pieces of Fabric’) and in this way denounces the importance of looks and fashion. The musical ends with a scene of Andrea reunion with Nate (‘Being True to Yourself’).
Andrea Sachs: She is a young graduate from Midwest who has just moved to New York to look for a job at a magazine or newspaper. At the beginning, she is confident of her abilities, yet she is easily confused by vibrant New York life and tough approach of her new boss.
Miranda Priestley: She is a powerful and authoritarian editor of the ‘Runway’ magazine. She has connections both in the press world and in the world of fashion; however, she often demonstrates her power by maltreating her subordinates.
Emily: She used to be the first assistant to Miranda before the arrival of Andrea who proved to be more competent and was promoted to Emily’s position.
Nigel: He is the art director of ‘Runway’ who often advices Andrea on how to dress with taste and deal with Miranda’s whims.
Nate: He is Andrea’s boyfriend who suffers from lack of attention and condemns her girlfriend paying too much attention to her job and her looks.
Christian: He is a magazine writer who fancies Andrea and eventually seduces her into a romantic adventure in Paris.
Chorus: Chorus, together with Nigel, performs ‘The World of Fashion’ song and serves the purpose of conveying the atmosphere of fashion industry characterized by (quoting ‘Sunset Boulevard’ musical) ‘whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways.’
A Good Start of the Day (upbeat)
15 Minutes (upbeat)
The World of Fashion (dance)
Behind the Scenes (upbeat)
Paris, Je T’aime Moi Non Plus (ballad)
This Not-so-special Day (ballad)
Charms Are Frail (ballad)
Home Again (ballad)
The World of Fashion: Reprise (dance)
These Little Pieces of Fabric (upbeat)
Being True to Yourself (ballad)
There are three different set: headquarters of the ‘Runway’ magazine, Andrea and Nate’s apartment, and Paris. The first set features the use of bright lights, crowd, hallstands, and various posters from fashion shows. The second set should convey the calm and comfortable atmosphere of New York middle-class couple. The third set features some of the landmarks of Paris (e.g. Eiffel Tower) and creates the atmosphere of excess, lush, and festivity. Almost all costumes used in the musical should be expensive and fashionable designer clothes; the only character that wears casual clothes in Nate. No special effects are used, but the song ‘The World of Fashion’ is accompanied by a ballet.
The theme of the musical is the balance between professional and public life and hard choices people have to make. It also deals with the ability to stay honest and kindhearted under the pressure from inhibiting circumstances.