In St. Louis, Missouri, in 1952, ten-year-old Danny Lucas telephones for help because his mother won't wake up. His mother, Elizabeth Lucas, has swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and is taken to the psychiatric ward. The caseworker from social services, Mrs. Crandall, places an angry Danny in foster care ("It's Better This Way"). Mrs. Crandall informs Elizabeth that contact with Danny will be limited to gifts and letters. Elizabeth returns home determined to correct her past mistakes and get Danny back ("Fill In The Blank"). She writes to Danny asking him to follow her clues to their conclusion ("Letter From Elizabeth").
Danny's foster family is the Milligans, a childless couple awaiting a baby. Mrs. Crandall delivers, from Danny's mother, a model plane and instructions to speak with the elderly Harold Bixby. Through Mr. Bixby's remembrances, we are introduced to John Robert Anderson - a WWI fighter pilot ("In These Skies") who meets ("In This Moment") and falls in love with Ruth Whitlow ("In These Skies" (Reprise)).
Elizabeth sends Danny the diaries of Ruth Whitlow. Through the diaries, we see that Ruth's relationship with John Robert Anderson leads to marriage ("Be My Bride"). John Robert is stationed in France. Ruth writes of her longing for him and her pride in his service ("Ruth's Letters"). John Robert challenges a hostile airman to a bet and teaches him a lesson ("Anique's Tavern Song"). Another letter from Ruth reveals that she is pregnant ("I'm Going To Have This Child"). John Robert continues his service in France ("The Dogfight") and his life ends there ("Act I Finale").
Danny is learning to trust his foster parents, the Milligans ("Now I Know"). Another package arrives from his mother. Through Ruth's diaries, we meet her young son Charlie Anderson, nicknamed "Ace". She sings of her dream for her son to be the aviator and hero that his father was. Charlie dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer ("Soaring Again"). Also in this package is a letter from Elizabeth and her yearbook from St. Louis University 1935, and a photo. Through these items, Elizabeth Lucas and Charlie "Ace" Anderson are shown as they meet ("It's Just A Matter Of Time"; "I Know It Can Be Done") and fall in love ("Missing Pieces"). The photo of Ace is the first time that Danny has seen his father; his mother has previously refused to speak about him ("So That's Him").
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Charlie, fueled by his mother's desires for him, joins the Air Force. Elizabeth opposes this but agrees to marry him before he leaves. While in training, Charlie feels the spirit of his father John Robert ("Father And Son"). Charlie is asked to join the "Flying Tigers" - a voluntary assignment. Elizabeth is furious that Charlie would put himself in danger for a voluntary mission. Charlie feels connected to the father he never knew and believes that he is making the best choice. Elizabeth, on the other hand, feels that the stories of John Robert's heroism have led Ace to make a bad choice. They argue and separate in anger.
Ace joins the Flying Tigers in China ("We're The Only Ones"). Ruth, Elizabeth, Ace and Danny each consider the emotional changes they are experiencing. Elizabeth reveals that she is pregnant ("Seeing Thing In A Different Light"). Ace perishes in the skies over Siam. Elizabeth sings of her overwhelming shock, anger and inability to forgive ("That's What It Should Say"). Ace" speaks to Danny. He tells Danny that he can "Choose To Fly" in many ways, in his heart and mind, not necessarily or only in a plane.
Danny is reunited with his Mother. He understands his past and their relationship is healed ("Chose To Fly"; "Finale").
SYNOPSIS Lyrics From The Musical Ace