I dreamed that I rented a DVD of a musical and this was the story:
It was set in this weird semi-Dickensean but modern setting-- like, people wore Victorian clothes and all the manners and styles were Victorian but they had mostly modern technology. But, like a Dickensean setting, there was a lot of economic devastation, lots of poverty and grime and stuff.
It took place in England. It started with this group of urban scavengers-- three young men and a young woman who would read obituaries, find people who lived alone, and then go to the dead person's home and try to clear out the property. The men went by their last names: Fergusson ("Fergie"), Hector, and Stevens. The girl was named Zelda.
Fergie and Zelda were sweethearts, but Hector, who was the ringleader of the group, clearly had a thing for Zelda and was generally not so subtly trying to insert himself between the two of them.
So they cleared out this old man's apartment and they had this stack of books they'd taken, and they went through them and decided which ones which of them were going to take, and Fergie took a libretto from some popular musical, and he and Zelda opened it up and started singing one of the duets. And Hector got this like "Click!" and decided that this was what they were going to do, was start a theater troupe, because Fergie and Zelda kind of kicked butt.
Only he and Stevens couldn't sing or dance or act, so they took up the business stuff. Stevens kind of faded out of the story. But they put together this show, and it was fairly successful, if a bit raunchy.
Once they had a little bit of money, Zelda and Fergie get engaged and rent the garret apartment from this middle-aged widow with three children: a girl around Zelda's age named Cathy, who had dark hair and eyes, a boy named Roger who was maybe 13 or 14 at the beginning, and very chubby, and a youngest daughter named Jane who looked just like Cathy but who had brilliant red bouncy little doll curls and was maybe ten or eleven when it started.
So their landlady takes the kids to see one of the performances and is SCANDALIZED by it, even though the two girls think it is wonderful and Jane decides she is going to be an actress too! Everything is normal for a while, although Cathy keeps doing things that seem like little subtle attempts to get between Zelda and Fergie, who assume Cathy has a crush on Fergie.
Jane, meanwhile, follows them both around like a little puppy and loves loves loves them. They get really successful just as their landlady's pension from her dead husband gets cut off by his relatives, so Zelda and Fergie, being nice people, start paying all the bills for the house.
But then a talent scout from America comes to one of their shows and offers them a chance to make a movie. Zelda doesn't like the idea of basically being bought and the contract takes away too many of her rights, but Fergie wants to do it. The two of them fight over it, and Cathy exacerbates the situation and Fergie packs up and leaves and goes to America without Zelda. Zelda stays and Hector pretty much writes her a new show. It is like super over-the-top-- very Lady Gaga-ish.
One night, Zelda gets home from performing and Cathy is sitting in her bedroom. She kisses Zelda and falls all over her professing her love: she was trying to break up Zelda and Fergie because she was in love with Zelda. Zelda reasonably gets angry and takes her to task for it.
Then one day, Zelda gets a telegram at the theater from Fergie, telling her he wants her to come to America. She arranges everything to go. And then, the day she's supposed to leave, the landlady shows up at the theater: Cathy has vanished. She doesn't know where she is and she's afraid she's been kidnapped or worse. So Zelda writes ahead and tells Fergie she has to stay to help with the police.
Weeks go by, and Cathy never shows up. Zelda writes to Fergie again: and never gets a letter back. The trail goes cold; news of Cathy's disappearance is buried and the police aren't giving it as much attention. Zelda keeps doing the show, and ends up in a relationship with Hector, although it's a bit resentful because Hector knows he's her second choice, and Zelda still wants Fergie back-- she writes to him all the time but he still never writes back.
This goes on for a few years. Zelda is still living in the widow's house, but Roger and Jane are mostly grown up: Roger is in medical school and Jane is in her late teens and incredibly gorgeous. She hangs out at the theater, watching Zelda's performances and begging Hector to give her a part in the show. Hector, knowing the tenuous situation with her mother, won't do it. But meanwhile, Zelda, who is in her late twenties, is getting sick of the vaudeville act and wants to move on.
So one night, Zelda agrees to let Jane go on in her place. She performs-- to a standing ovation. But of course her mother finds out, catches the end of the show, and kicks Zelda out of the house. Jane, in a fit of teenaged impudence, goes too, and both girls move in with Hector.
One day, Zelda and Jane arrive at the theater, and Hector looks like he's seen a ghost. Zelda asks him what's wrong: he thinks he saw Fergie outside the theater. A little while later, a note arrives for Zelda: Fergie is in town and would like to see her.
Then Jane's mother shows up. To tell them that Cathy is in town and she came to the house to see them. Cathy is fine, she's been living in America, and she's married! Jane, who knows her sister likes girls, is incredulous and thinks Cathy must be lying to her mother. But Zelda puts two and two together.
Her jaw drops. "She's married to Fergie," she says.
And that's when I woke up.