Adapted from Burnett's memoir One More Time, the dramedy is set in Hollywood, California in 1941 and 1951, and centers on the heartbreak and laughter shared by three generations of women living on welfare in a dingy one-room apartment. The cast of characters, based on Burnett and her real-life relatives, includes a no-nonsense grandmother; a beautiful, alcoholic mother determined to be a writer for movie magazines; an absent father, who is struggling with his own demons; and a young girl whose only escape is the rooftop of their rundown building, where she creates her own magical world and dreams of a successful show business career.
Hamilton never saw her work reach the stage. On January 20 2002, she died of brain and lung cancer. Burnett, determined that the play serve as a tribute to her daughter's memory, brought it to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where it was mounted for the first time in April 2002.
After twenty-eight previews, the Broadway production, directed by Hal Prince, opened on October 31 2002 at the Cort Theatre where, despite favorable reviews, it ran for only 76 performances. The cast included Linda Lavin, Frank Wood, Donna Lynne Champlin, Patrick Clear, Emily Graham-Handley, Sara Niemietz, Nicolas King, Leslie Hendrix, and Michele Pawk, whose performance won her the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.