The musical is gentle-spirited, not gaudy, and moves with an easygoing grace where others prance and strut. And it tells a sentiment-spritzed story...that you might be more likely to encounter in black and white, flickering from your flat-screen on Turner Classic Movies. The protagonist, Alice Murphy, portrayed by Carmen Cusack -- making a simply gorgeous Broadway debut -- is a spunky girl in her late teens in the scenes set in the 1920s. A dreamer with a rebellious streak and a hunger for literature, she's causing a fine ruckus in the sleepy town of Zebulon...While the story certainly skirts (if not embraces) sentimentality and the overripeness of melodrama, the production's soft-hued style -- and the sometimes wry tone of Mr. Martin's book -- keeps it from curdling into treacle. The songs boast simple but seductive melodies, and lyrics that have a sweet, homespun quality.