In this musical, Hugh Lofting is a lieutenant in the Royal British Army, separated from his son Colin during WWI. At his wife's urging, Lofting writes a story for him from the front. Despite the harsh conditions on the battlefield, Lieutenant Lofting's imagination comes alive as he concocts the marvelous tale about a kind-hearted doctor who can talk with the animals, The Story of Doctor Dolittle. As it begins, an African monkey seeks out the good doctor, telling him there is a terrible illness afflicting his cousins, and Doctor Dolittle is the only one who can save them.
As the doctor and his friends set sail, Colin becomes more and more enthralled with his father's story. He begs Lofting to put him in the tale, so he can go on the voyage too. Does he go?