On a noisy, rainy street corner in central London, passersby under their umbrellas long for sunny St. Tropez as Rose hurries home to her husband Frederick.
To Rose’s frustration, her husband Frederick Arbuthnot preens and puffs about his double life posing as “bachelor-novelist August St. Claire,” author of steamy potboilers.
Lottie tries to convince her friend, Rose, that they should respond to an ad in the London Times to rent a medieval castle in Italy for the month of April. Lottie visualizes the whole setting as “So Much Beauty” but Rose expresses her hesitations.
Rose and Lottie meet Lady Caroline Derby, who has responded to their ad in the London Times for someone to share expenses for their month of April in Italy. Lady Caroline expresses her desire to get away from her fast life in London high society’s Jazz Age, while a London Boy and Girl at the next table at the Savoy dance and gossip about Lady Caroline.
Rose recalls the great love she shared with Frederick when they were younger.
Arriving in Italy, the women encounter the Italian servants at “San Salvatore,” their rented castello. Much to Lady Caroline’s annoyance, these servants enthusiastically express their fascination with her beauty.
Away from the London nightlife and glamour for the first time, Lady Caroline struggles to find meaning in her life.
Reunited in Act Two, the Italian sunshine has rekindled the love and ardor between Lottie and her solicitor husband Mellresh. In this song, we find them in bed, playfully appreciating their rediscovered sexuality.
Thomas Briggs, the owner of San Salvatore, is en route by train to the castle to propose marriage to Rose. He imagines them together as husband and wife, unaware that Rose is already married to Frederick.
In his self-delusional pursuit of Lady Caroline all the way to Italy, Frederick celebrates his own cleverness, unaware that Lady Caroline has no interest in him and that his wife Rose is one of the guests at San Salvatore.