Book by Elizabeth Turner With additional writing by Vincent Pelligrino
Directed by Vincent Pelligrino
Musical Direction by Andreas Häberlin
Summer of 1950, New York City. Elizabetta Garibaldi, a young, courageous woman from Italy, has come to the United States in pursuit of a new life. Living with her aunt and uncle, Zio and Zia, she helps them open their family owned restaurant in Little Italy, Vicoletto's. Entertaining Americans nightly ("It Feels Good To Be Italian"). Zio reminds Elizabetta that soon she should start thinking about settling down and starting a family, while Elizabetta sings about her heartbreak as a neglected fiancé ("La Mia Estate Amore").
Adapting to new life in America, Elizabetta deals with the challenges of trying to fit into an American society, while also staying true to her Italian traditions. With the help of Zio and Zia ("Starting New"), Elizabetta puts her fears, heartbreak and worries behind her while singing through the streets of New York. Zio introduces Elizabetta to life long friend Angelo and gets her a job for the summer at a gelato shop ("Angelo's Gelato"), where Angelo's son Maximo shows Elizabetta the ropes.
While working at Angelo's Gelato for the summer, Elizabetta befriends Rhonda and Judy, who encourage her to move on from her old life ("Find Your Spirit"). Elizabetta has also befriended Andy the piano man at Vicoletto's, who is nerdy and shy, yet personable and kind. He makes Elizabetta laugh and forget about her pain in ("You've Got It All".)
Zio and Zia are having problems of their own, running the family business, blending into American culture, and they express their frustration in ("Everything is Fine"). Summer has quickly come to an end, and the girls encourage Elizabetta to look for another job. She comes across a music teaching position at the rough St. Anthony's school and accepts the position with very little preparation from Mother Marie and Father Burns. The kids on the first day of school are rude, unkind, and give her hell in ("No, No, No"). Elizabetta turns to her faith, as she is uncertain of her calling in life, and where to turn ("Lord I Pray To You").
Fall, 1951 at St. Anthony's school. We see Elizabetta, Mother Marie, Father Burns and the Students participating in Mass ("Feast of St.Jerome"), where Elizabetta scolds the children for their obnoxious behavior. Elizabetta is still entertaining the guests over at Vicoletto's, trying to boost business ("I Want To Be In Italy"). Andy and Elizabetta finally profess their secret love for one another in ("Vita Mia"). Juggling the restaurant and romance, Elizabetta must focus on her teaching at St. Anthony's, where the kids finally start to come together, and enjoy learning music ("Can we try?").
Zio and Zia have received awful news that Elizabetta has now overstayed her tourist visa rights, and will soon be deported back to Italy. They break the news to Elizabetta. Elizabetta, feeling very guilty confesses her sins to Father Burns. With many emotions running, Elizabetta has a nightmare about Marcello, her former fiancé, coming back into her life, Andy leaving her, and being deported. Thanksgiving comes and the Garibaldi's are celebrating with their close friends, and think about what they have to be thankful about in ("Let Us Be Thankful").
Meanwhile, Marcello has tracked down Elizabetta and bursts into their family celebration at Thanksgiving, declaring Elizabetta back, and she now has to make a choice between Marcello and Andy in ("Ciao Bambino"). She ultimately decides to finally say goodbye to Marcello and her past life with him.
Time marches on, and at the St. Anthony's Christmas concert, the children's hard work pays off in a performance of ("Christmas In My Heart"). Father Burns now reveals to us he has been disguised as a priest this entire time, and is an undercover cop. Looking to find mafia crime in the neighborhood. Father Burns tries to publicly arrest Elizabetta, for being an Illegal. Andy then steps in and saves Elizabetta by proposing to her in ("Will You Be My Bride"). Elizabetta has found the right path for her in America, and with the help of her family, friends and students, she has truly found her spirit ("Find Your Spirit (Reprise)")