During the play, we learn that Clara is a single mother struggling to raise two children. She decides to be her own boss and learn the beauty business. Many years later, she retires, and her ability to give an authentic manicure gets her a job with a director.
Joe Sedelmaier was a director who specialized in working with ordinary people. Clara did several ads for him before she did the “Where's The Beef?” ad which originally aired on January 10th, 1984.
After the Wendy's ad, Clara and Marlene, her daughter, traveled to many states. As the trips become more frequent, Clara begins to think about her past. Marlene, who, by fate, has become Clara's manager, begins to see Clara as an unusual woman who is tough and resilient. They travel the celebrity route, except there is no red carpet. Clara becomes an American icon.
Our play begins in the present, when Marlene receives a telephone call from Wendy's. The Wendy's representative tells her that Wendy's wants to reuse the commercials featuring Clara's image. Clara has been dead for many years. The request triggers questions in Marlene's mind about how to handle this. She has a special closeness with her mother, and does not want anything to intrude upon it. Marlene seeks answers, and the play begins.