It starts at 9:00pm on Christmas Eve with Mark and his roommate Roger, who live on the top floor of some building in New York. Mark, who's trying to make a film, has abandoned the idea of writing a script and is instead filming random events in his and his friend's lives. Which is probably why he's filming Roger, who's "just coming back from half a year of withdrawal", and is messing around on an electric guitar trying to write "one great song." [TUNE UP 1]. They're interrupted by Mark's mum, who leaves a message on their answerphone, helpfully letting the audience know that Mark's ex-girlfriend, Maureen, dumped him because she's a lesbian. [VOICE MAIL 1]. Mark goes back to filming Roger, but is interrupted again by the phone. It's Collins, so Mark actually picks up this time. But their conversation is cut short as Collins is getting mugged. The phone rings again immediately after. Mark thinks it's Collins phoning back, so he picks up. Unfortunately it turns out to be Benny, Mark and Roger's former friend, now their landlord. He's demanding last year's rent and threatening them with eviction, even though he'd previously said they were "golden." [TUNE UP 2]. After this conversation, the power blows. Mark and Roger get highly pissed off. [RENT].
Outside, the recently mugged Collins (who had no money, so the muggers had to nick his coat) meets Angel. It's the start of a beautiful relationship when they realise they are both HIV positive. [YOU OKAY HONEY?].
Back inside, Mark has to go out and help Maureen fix her equipment for her later performance. Before leaving, he tries (and fails) to persuade Roger to leave the house and announces to the audience that Roger's girlfriend April "left a note saying 'We've got AIDS' before slitting her wrists in the bathroom." [TUNE UP 3].
Left alone, Roger has a lot of depressing thoughts about death, and tries to write his one great song. [GLORY]. His somewhat morbid contemplations are interrupted by Mimi, the sexy girl from downstairs, needing a light for her candle. Some lighthearted flirting goes on but it doesn't help that Roger realises Mimi is a junkie, like himself. [LIGHT MY CANDLE].
Joanne's parents leave a message on her and Maureen's answerphone. [VOICE MAIL 2].
Back at Mark and Roger's appartment, Mark is back with Collins, presumably having met him outside. Angel enters in drag, handing out large wads of cash, which he got from driving someone's dog to kill itself by jumping off a balcony. [TODAY 4 U]. Benny enters, still demanding rent. He's bought the 11th Street Lot (next door) with his wife's money and is planning to build a cyberarts studio on it. He tries to bribe/blackmail Mark and Roger: If they will stop Maureen's performance protesting this, he will let them carry on living in the building for free. Mark and Roger refuse. [YOU'LL SEE].
Mark leaves (again) to help Maureen with her equipment. At the lot, he finds Joanne, still trying to set it all up. They've never met before, but quickly become friends while bitching about Maureen. [TANGO MAUREEN].
Mark then joins the Life Support meeting (for people who are HIV positive) which Angel and Collins are at. [LIFE SUPPORT].
Mimi, meanwhile, is getting ready to go out. She ends up storming into Roger's appartment, asking him to take her out. [OUT TONIGHT]. She then snogs him highly aggressively. Roger, who I suppose is feeling somewhat scared and confused, essentially flings a temper tantrum and kicks Mimi out. [ANOTHER DAY]. But the whole Mimi encounter must've got him thinking because as everyone wonders what will happen when they die, he finally leaves the appartment. [WILL I?].
We are now back with Collins, Angel and Mark, who have left the Life Support meeting and are on the street. Mark stops a police officer harassing a bag lady. However, the bag lady gets a bit pissed off. Possibly because Mark is trying to film her. [ON THE STREET]. Collins, Angel and Mark then dream of a better life in somewhere that's not New York, such as Santa Fe. [SANTA FE]. Mark leaves to check up on Roger, and Collins and Angel decide they're in love [I'LL COVER YOU].
Joanne balances 3 calls at once, from Maureen, her parents, and some lawyer guy named Steve. [WE'RE OKAY].
We now go to a market (supposedly at St Mark's Place, although I've no idea how you're supposed to figure that one out). Anyway a whole lot of stuff is happening at this point, with about 5 different conversations going on at once, but the important points are: Mark and Roger meet up, Roger sees Mimi (trying to buy drugs), apologises to her, invites her to dinner, and introduces her to Mark. Angel buys Collins a new coat. [CHRISTMAS BELLS].
Maureen gives her performance at the lot. She's protesting the eviction of the homeless, but also the loss of her own performance space. [OVER THE MOON].
After the performance everyone goes to the Life Cafe. Benny is already there (trying to suck up to his father in law), and announces that "Bohemia is dead." Everyone else rejects this idea, and seem to think it necessary to jump up and down on tables while doing so. [LA VIE BOHEME]. Benny leaves, and we learn that he and Mimi went out 3 months ago. Mimi's getting a bit pissed off with Roger, as she claims he's been ignoring her. He tries to use his "baggage" as an excuse but Mimi's not having any of that. They're interrupted by a bunch of bleepers. Mimi has to take her AZT. Roger realises Mimi is HIV posive as well. They decide to start a relationship. [I SHOULD TELL YOU].
Joanne is fed up because a) Maureen has been ordering her to and from the lot this whole time and b) she'd walked in to find Maureen kissing some random woman. She tells Maureen their relationship is over, and tells everyone else that there's a riot in progress and Benny has padlocked Mark and Roger's appartmet. Mimi and Roger snog. [LA VIE BOHEME B].
Everyone lines up on stage and decides that the best way to measure a year is to "measure in love." [SEASONS OF LOVE].
It's now New Year's Eve, and everyone is at a "breaking back into the building party." [HAPPY NEW YEAR]. The phone rings, and the answerphone picks up. It's Mark's mum, and a woman called Alexi Darling from a sleazy show called Buzzline. She's seen his footage of the riot on TV and wants to offer him a job. [VOICE MAIL 3]. Everyone's happy - until Benny shows up. He lets them back into the building but implies that he's only doing so because Mimi slept with him. This (naturally) causes Roger and Mimi to have their 1st row, but they eventually make up. [HAPPY NEW YEAR B].
Valentine's Day. Roger is now living at Mimi's, but he's still jealous of Benny. Maureen and Joanne have a huge row, which ends in them splitting up. [TAKE ME OR LEAVE ME].
Apparently on a whim, the company sing Seasons Of Love again. [SEASONS OF LOVE B].
Spring. Roger and Mimi have another row: Roger thinks Mimi's been with Benny, when actually she was getting drugs. However, they decide they can't live without each other and get back together. Maureen and Joanne also make up. Angel is dying. [WITHOUT YOU].
Alexi Darling is still harassing Mark with job prospects. [VOICE MAIL 4].
OK, I've no idea how to explain this next bit, so I'll use the words of the CD booklet: "Much lovemaking is witnessed, framed by ardent frustrations in the age of safe sex." (Right, CD booklet bit over). Roger and Mimi split up, as do Maureen and Joanne. Angel dies. [CONTACT].
Halloween. Angel's memorial. Collins restates his love for Angel. [I'LL COVER YOU REPRISE].
Outside the church, Mark accepts Alexi's job offer. He compares his life now (pretty terrible, really) to how it was last Christmas Eve (pretty brilliant), and contemplates his future, alone. [HALLOWEEN].
Everyone else emerges from the church. It transpires that Roger is going to leave for Santa Fe and Mimi is back with Benny. A massive row errupts between Mimi, Roger, Maureen and Joanne until a distraught Collins stops them. Maureen and Joanne get back together, and Mimi leaves with Benny. Mark and Roger are left alone. Mark tries to persuade Roger to confront his pain, but Roger furiously claims Mark is hardly one to talk, as he's hiding his emotions in his work. Mark realises that Roger isn't really jealous of Benny, but just using it as an excuse to distance himself from Mimi: He's afraid she's getting more and more ill, and he doesn't want to see her die. Unfortunately, Mimi overhears this, but tells Roger she just came to say goodbye. Roger leaves. Benny offers to pay for Mimi's rehab, but she runs off. When it turns out Collins can't pay for Angel's funeral, Benny offers to pay, then they go for a drink. [GOODBYE LOVE].
Mark and Roger (who's presumably en route to Santa Fe) consider their lives and the choices they've made. Mark, especially, thinks he's sold out. Roger gets the inspiration for his song and Mark gets the inspiration for his film. He quits his job at Buzzline. [WHAT YOU OWN].
Mark, Roger, Mimi and Joanne's parents all phone, wanting to know where their children are. It appears Roger has moved back to New York and is starting a rock band. [VOICE MAIL 5].
Back at Mark and Roger's appartment. It's Christmas Eve again, exactly a year after the beginning of the play. Mark's made his film and Roger's found his song. Benny has left (due to his wife finding out about his affair with Mimi). However, Mimi is still missing. The power blows (very deja vu), and Collins arrives, handing out wads of cash which he got by rewiring an ATM machine. Suddenly Maureen and Joanne arrive, carrying Mimi, who's pretty much dying. She finally manages to tell Roger she loves him. [FINALE]. He sings his one song for her, tells her he loves her, then screams out her name when she dies. [YOUR EYES]. But, miraculously, she's not dead. It turns out Angel has been looking out for her. The community reaffirm there really is "no day but today." [FINALE B].