This is the musical that made Liza Minnelli a star, winning her a Tony Award and setting a record at the time for the youngest person ever to win that coveted award. The story is told as though in a presentation by the Federal Theatre Project, part of the WPA established by President Roosevelt. A company of actors play all the roles, with obvious props and scenery, not trying to hide the 'amateur' look and feel of the show.
The plot follows headstrong wannabe fashion designer Flora Mezaros, one member of an artists' co-operative of bohemian types - dancers, musicians, designers - struggling to find work during the Depression. Hoping to find a job which pays at least $15 a week, she is hired by the head of a large department store at $30. She falls in love with Harry Toukarian, another struggling designer, who attempts to convert Flora to his Communist ideals. Even though it compromises her job in an organization which does not recognize the new unions she seeks to hold down both job and relationship. Throw in a predatory Communist matriarch who wants Harry for herself, a secretary with designs on her boss, and a jazz dancing duo with their sights on greater things, and it has all the right ingredients for a genuinely original and exciting show. In the end, however, she finds herself torn between the vastly different ideals, and has to sacrifice one or the other for true happiness. Flora, the Red Menace features such great Kander and Ebb standards as "A Quiet Thing" and "Keepin' It Hot".