Rose and her two daughters, Baby June and Louise, play the vaudeville circuit around the United States in the early 1920s. Rose, the archetype of a stage mother, is aggressive and domineering, pushing her children to perform. While June is an extroverted, talented child star, the older girl, Louise, is shy. The kiddie act has one song, "May We Entertain You", that they sing over and over again, with June always as the centerpiece and Louise often as one of the "boys". Rose has big dreams for the girls but encounters setbacks, such as attempting to borrow money from her father. When Rose meets a former agent, Herbie, she persuades him to become their manager using her seductive and feminine wiles. The girls grow up, and June, now billed as Dainty June, and her act have a chance to perform for Mr. Goldstone of the Orpheum Circuit. Meanwhile, Louise celebrates her birthday alone and asks her birthday present, a lamb, just how old she is this year. After Rose rejects Herbie's marriage proposal, he considers leaving, but she asserts that he could never get away from her. Now billed as "Dainty June and Her Farmboys", the act finally performs on the Orpheum Circuit. June is soon offered a place at a Performing Arts school after an audition. However, Rose turns this down, refusing to break up the act. Louise and June fantasize what life would be like if Rose were married and finished with show business. A few months later, still on the road from show to show, Tulsa, one of the boys from the act, confides in Louise that he has been working on his own act, and Louise fantasizes that she and he could do the act together. Shortly after, June is missing, and in a note, she explains that she has grown sick of her mother and the endless tour and has eloped with Tulsa, and they will do a new act. Rose is hurt, but then optimistically vows that she will make Louise a star, proclaiming that "Everything's Coming Up Roses".