It’s morning at the Downtown Bakery, home of the best doughnuts A-Round, get it? A-ROUND? Three freshly made doughnuts celebrate their deliciousness (SONG: Sunshiny Goodness). In comes a newcomer: a naïve, enthusiastic, chocolate-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled Arnie! Each of the doughnuts introduces herself, and we meet a slightly snobby French Cruller, a feminine and insecure Powdered Doughnut, and a jolly Jelly. They teach Arnie that the most important thing is to be bought by the customers that are coming through the door (SONG: Sunshiny Goodness; Reprise). What they neglect to teach him is what comes after, and Arnie is left wondering how to become the best doughnut he can be, if he doesn’t know what doughnuts are for.
Enter Mr. Bing: a well-intentioned but conventional rule follower who eats a few too many doughnuts and is a bit out of shape and self-conscious. When the Baker tells him the bakery is out of his regular plain doughnut, he is forced to break with habit and choose another kind. Much to the other doughnuts’ surprise, he picks Arnie! Arnie is bundled into a paper bag and Mr. Bing drives home with his doughnut by his side (SONG: A Bumpy Ride). Arnie imagines a swell life with Mr. Bing, although he is anxious because he still doesn’t know what being a great doughnut entails.
They arrive at Mr. Bing’s home, The Cozy Confines Condo Community, which is ruled by its condo association President Mrs. Plute; an intimidating bully with a smile. A maker and enforcer of rules, she dominates those around her. While Mr. Bing sneaks into his apartment to avoid her, condo neighbors Sheila and Ronnie express their unhappiness with living under Mrs. Plute’s over-reaching authority (SONG: Unpleasant Mrs. Plute).
Once in Mr. Bing’s apartment, Arnie is shocked to discover that Mr. Bing intends to eat him! The death of innocence comes hard to him, and he explores all the highs and lows of the situation before accepting his fate. (SONG: Arnie at the Plate). But now that Mr. Bing knows his doughnut is sentient, he no longer feels right about eating him. This good news is only enjoyed for a moment before Mrs. Plute discovers this unorthodox situation, and declares that Arnie must be eaten or thrown away by the end of the day, because an uneaten doughnut is trash, and there are rules about what happens to the trash at the Cozy Confines (SONG: Doughnuts Are for Eating).
Arnie and Mr. Bing are sure they can find a useful purpose for Arnie before nightfall, which will allow Arnie to stay and allow Mr. Bing to obey the rules he so rigidly observes (SONG: More Than Just Delicious).
But alas, as time goes on it’s clear that they have very different ideas and can’t come to an agreement. Mr. Bing sadly tells Arnie that he must go (SONG: More Than Just Delicious; Reprise). As Arnie takes his leave of the Cozy Confines Condo Community, he says goodbye to the place he thought would be his new home, even bidding farewell to Mrs. Plute’s “No Dogs Allowed” sign – which gives Mr. Bing an idea (SONG: Arnie Finale)!
Mr. Bing runs after Arnie and asks him to be his pet doughnut, so they can play and keep each other company and be best friends. Arnie loves this idea, and so do the neighbors, who all decide a doughnut dog is a brilliant idea. But Mrs. Plute is far from pleased, but Mr. Bing points out that the rule book says no dogs allowed, not no doughnuts. Trumped by this inescapable logic, Mrs. Plute exits as the neighbors plan an overthrow of more of her silly rules in the future. With everyone happy, except Mrs. Plute, they celebrate the harmless joy of breaking a few rules now and then (SONG: Play with Your Food).