Martin, T.J., Shane, Anna Beth and Johnny, each have secrets that influence their behavior. Martin is trying to find the courage to stand up to Johnny, the school bully. Johnny, bitter about his father deserting him, takes his anger out on others. T.J. uses romantic fantasies to get through life, and Anna Beth moves from school to school to hide her secret. The dilemmas addressed in the show are what's happening now, in schools across the country. Martin does find the way to be courageous - be yourself. T.J. gives up her fantasies when Martin reveals he has a crush on her. Shane, with help from Anna Beth, realizes he has a world beyond what his brother has given him - a world of new hope.
When Anna Beth makes a startling confession to the "cool," girls about her grandmother, who resembles a bag lady, we learn the theme of the show: "I don't care what any of you think of her. Or me. I did care. I cared so much I wanted her to disappear, and never come back. Every time someone did find out, I'd make us move. Every place we went, I'd make up stories, just so people would think I was somebody. But I'm done wanting to be anything else but what I am."
Facing Up received its world premiere on November 3, 1989, in Urbandale, Iowa. It was directed by Robert Prigge, assisted by Candace Berkley, presented at the Urbandale Performing Arts center.