In 1930 sixteen-year-old Marjorie Morgenstern lives with her family on the edge of Central Park. She has just come out into New York society. Her mother hopes for a glittering marriage to a good man, but Marjorie has other ideas.
Spending the summer working as a drama coach, she falls desperately in love twice over: with Noel Airman, a musician, as reckless as he is talented; and with a dream to defy her destiny as a Jewish wife and mother and become a star of the stage. Why should she settle with being another Mrs Morgenstern, if she can succeed in the heady world of show business as Marjorie Morningstar?