First Impressions (1959) is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by George Weiss, Robert Goldman, and Glenn Paxton, and book by Abe Burrows (Guys and Dolls), based on the stage adaptation by Helen Jerome of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. The Broadway production premiered at the Alvin Theater, New York City, on March 19, 1959, and played 84 performances. The stars of the original cast were Hermione Gingold (as Mrs. Bennet), Polly Bergen (as Elizabeth Bennet), and Farley Granger (as Mr. Darcy), supported by Phyllis Newman, Ellen Hanley, Christopher Hewitt, and James Mitchell. The original production’s lavish scenic design (the period was 1813) by Peter Larkin is particularly noteworthy. The time is 1813, the scene is Longbourn, the home of the Bennets in Hertfordshire. The family consists of Mr. Bennet, his busy wife and their five unmarried daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Lydia and Kitty. Mrs. Bennet’s primary aim in life is to see her children well married, which is not easy when one has five daughters. Nor are the daughters, particularly Elizabeth, entirely sympathetic to her schemes. But good news comes to Mrs. Bennet that a rich young man, Charles Bingley, is coming to live at nearby Netherfield Hall, accompanied by his even richer friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, and she hurries out to tell her friends. Darcy and Bingley make their first appearance at the Assembly Dance, where the latter is immediately attracted to Jane, but an intense dislike springs up between Elizabeth and Darcy, arising from her (more…)
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This calendar, drawn from the extant text of Pride & Prejudice,
demonstrates that the novel went through a number of revisions.
The 1796-97 First Impressions was a far more
leisurely affair with many more conversations between
Darcy and Elizabeth, with something of the pace of
Mansfield Park, and of the didactic outlining of
conversations at the close of the extant Sense
and Sensibility which recall those of
Rasselas and periodical fiction of the period.
It was probably epistolary, and the journey into Derbyshire
reveals “lopping and chopping”. Continue reading A Calendar for Pride and Prejudice