First Impressions (1959) is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by George Weiss, Robert Goldman, and Glenn Paxton, and book by Abe Burrows, 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.
Like the novel, the musical is concerned primarily with the rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet, an impoverished clergyman's daughter with four sisters, and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy aristocrat who arrives in Miss Elizabeth's rural village in 1813. The course of true love is hindered by minor character flaws on both sides--his pride and reserve, which look like arrogance to her, and her tendency to jump to erroneous conclusions based on little evidence, as well as her verbal assertiveness, which mildly scandalizes him--but as both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are good and sensible people, all ends happily. The musical concentrates more than the novel does on Mrs. Bennet's attitude toward all this, and on her tireless attempts to marry off her five marriageable daughters, despite the family's lack of money. The emphasis on Mrs. Bennet, no doubt, is the result of having cast a star (Hermione Gingold) in what was meant by Austen to be a secondary role.
The score, which mixes early-19th-century "period" music with standard Broadway idioms of the 1950s, includes the following principal songs: