Federico Fellini's directorial debut (co-directed with veteran Alberto Lattuada), Luci del Varietà is a bittersweet drama about a bunch of misfits in a traveling vaudeville troupe. The group of actors, dancers, and performers struggle to make it from town to town, playing to minimal crowds. Their comedic leader, Checco Dal Monte (Peppino De Filippo) just wants his act to be a success. His longtime sweetheart, Melina Amour (Fellini's wife Giulietta Masina), keeps the business end of things together and saves up money with plans of buying a business. Stumbling into one small town for another show, Checco meets beauty queen Lily (Carla Del Poggio) and puts her in the show as a dancer. When it appears that her sex appeal is drawing in large crowds of enthusiastic spectators, she quickly becomes the star of the show. Checco soon becomes infatuated with her, casting aside Melina and breaking up the troupe in order to put on a showcase for Lily instead. The loyal group of outcast performers are left without a leader, while star-eyed Lily proves to be relentless in her quest for fame.