The show has a book and lyrics by playwright Anthony Dodge and his wife, Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Doug Besterman, Susan Birkenhead, Gretchen Cryer, David Friedman, Kathie Lee Gifford, Carol Hall, Henry Krieger, Amanda McBroom, and Pam Tills are among the noted songwriters who contributed material to the show, along with Manchester.
Hats! focuses on a woman, about to celebrate her 50th birthday, who meets several members of the Red Hat Society, a real-life national group of women over 50 who come together to have fun. Officially formed in 1998, the group is named for the fact that its original six members dressed in red hats (and purple clothing) when getting together for tea. Today, the society has more than 40,000 chapters in all 50 states and in 30 countries around the world.
Manchester is a respected recording and concert artist. Her many hits include "Come In From the Rain," "Midnight Blue," and "Don't Cry Out Loud." She is also the co-author of the musical I Sent a Letter to My Love.