Gordon Miller is seated in a room in the White Way Hotel reading a script. Sasha, a waiter, is doing his best to convince Miller to give him a part in his new play. Mr. Gribble, the hotel manager and Miller’s brother-in-law, enters and it becomes apparent that Miller has not only avoided paying his own bill but he is also responsible for the food and lodging for a sizeable number of theatrical people. Harry Binion enters and we learn that the play, for which no financial backer has been obtained, is being rehearsed elsewhere in the hotel. Gribble is in a dither because of the imminent arrival of the auditor. Miller has decided the only solution is to skip town when his associate, Christine Marlowe, reports that she has found a backer for the play. The problem is, they have to arrange to stay in the hotel for a few more days until the deal can be finalized.
Leo Davis, the naïve country boy author of the play, unexpectedly shows up expecting to find everything in order and badly in need of cash. Eventually, Miller and company decide the only way to stay in the hotel is to have Davis fake a serious illness since it would then be illegal to evict him.
Hilda Manney, the manager’s secretary, enters. She and Davis sense an instant attraction. Wagner, the company executive, enters, demanding an explanation concerning Miller’s unpaid bill.
Simon Jenkins, representative of the long-awaited financial backer, arrives and agrees to consummate the deal the next afternoon. Wagner gives Miller one hour to pay up or leave. Davis is made up to look deathly ill as Act One ends.
Act Two finds a very hungry Miller, Davis, and Binion. Since the waiter, Sasha, is so desperate for a part in the play, they convince him to bring food in return for an audition. Wagner shows up, and a doctor is called in to check Davis’s condition and ends up locked in the bathroom. Jenkins arrives, ready to conclude the deal. Wagner enters at the worst of possible times, followed by Binion and Gribble, and the whole situation turns into a disaster. Jenkins, who has already signed over the check to Miller, leaves, convinced he has been dealing with madmen and vowing to stop the check.
Doctor Glass is released from the bathroom, having overheard the identity of the secret backer of Davis’s play. Blustering at Wagner, he reveals the well-known name, and Wagner agrees to allow Miller and his acting company to remain in the hotel, if the check can be deposited in the hotel’s account.
When it is revealed that Jenkins intends to stop the check, Miller plots to charge everything he needs against his hotel credit and open the play in five days before Wagner can learn that the check has been stopped.
Act Three finds a bank messenger revealing to Gribble that Miller has been signing Wagner’s name to everything he has charged to the hotel. Further, Gribble learns that the check has bounced. A clerk from the bank calls and now Wagner knows about the check. He vows that the curtain will never rise on the play, which is due to open in thirty minutes. A plot is devised to have Davis fake his suicide, knowing that Wagner, fearing for the reputation of the hotel, won’t call for medical help. Davis, however, must continue to “die” long enough for the play to conclude. Senator Blake, whom Wagner has been trying to impress, enters, declaring the play to be a hit and that he’s promoting Wagner. Sasha, the waiter, is the star of the show, Davis and Hilda are in love, and everyone is happy at last.