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First Impressions (1959 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording, Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, Original recording remastered, August 27, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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You'd think Jane Austen's novels would have made prime material for Broadway more often, but no. First Impressions, the 1959 musical based on Pride and Prejudice, is one of the few to have explored the British novelist's world. The show has not made much of an impact on the Broadway landscape, but it has quite a few things going for it. The cast is dominated by Hermione Gingold as Mrs. Bennet, the mother of five daughters. The headstrong daughter is played by Polly Bergen, whose husky voice takes a bit of getting used to in this context, since some of the score (by unknowns Robert Goldman, Glenn Paxton, and George Weiss) leans toward operetta, especially on such tracks as the duet "Fragrant Flower." Other numbers are easy for a nonsinger like leading man Farley Granger, who's better known for his swashbuckling roles in Hollywood. Some of the unintentionally funniest moments include "I Suddenly Find It Agreeable," in which Granger sounds uncannily like Peter Sellers in one of his goofy '60s duets with Sophia Loren. Add to the mix the fact that few in the cast bother with an English accent and a book and direction by the unlikely Abe Burrows (a long way from Guys and Dolls), and you have one weird, if appealing, musical. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Glenn Paxton, Robert Goldman, George David Weiss, Polly Bergen, Hermione Gingold
  • Audio CD (August 27, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Drg
  • ASIN: B00006BXI5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,322 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. Kurt A. Lerps on October 31, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was in boarding school when I was visiting NYC and my parents got me a ticket for an SRO performance of First Impressions. That day, Ellen Hanley was announced as performing Elizabeth Bennet - some people left BUT Hanley got a standing ovation at the end of the performance - I am so happy that she is on the record as Charlotte Lucas - I know when I bought the LP, I found Polly Bergen not as entrancing as Ellen Hanley was on stage. Anyhow, Gingold was brilliant as the coarse Mrs Bennet and Granger superb! As an 19th C English BA I still rave about this adaption - thank you DRG for this, Kean, Happiest Girl, Christine and many others - how about Baker Street, Minnie's Boys, Donnybrook and A Time for Singing! A very good nostalgic recording of the golden days of musicals!
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Format: Audio CD
This musical , adapted from Pride and Prejudice, starred Ms. Bergen, Hermione Gingold, Farley Granger and Phyllis Newman. They're all delightful, and though the score isn't great, it's quite enjoyable and all of Ms. Bergen's numbers are just wonderful. What a treat to finally have this show on CD. The folks at DRG are to be commended for caring enough to release these great 50's and 60's shows,fondly remembered by many of us! It's nice to know there are folks who care for more than just the bottom line!
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Format: Audio CD
FIRST IMPRESSIONS is a rather-enjoyable Broadway flop that is, believe it or not, a musical version of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"!
Polly Bergen, in her third Broadway show (after JOHN MURRAY ANDERSON'S ALMANAC and THE CHAMPAGNE COMPLEX) is a delight as Elizabeth Bennet, the eldest daughter of Mrs Bennet (Hermione Gingold). Bergen sings some lovely songs in this score, but her big payoff comes in the eleven o'clock number "This Really Isn't Me", which she colors with her husky and warm voice. More recently the incantory Ms Bergen has returned to Broadway in the revival of FOLLIES as Carlotta Campion; and subbed for Carole Shelley in the role of Frau Schneider in CABARET.
Farley Granger (in his Broadway musical debut) sounds quite ill-at-ease with his songs, though his comical duet with Bergen in "A Perfect Evening" is quite enjoyable.
Hermione Gingold is perfectly-suited to the role of the pushy Mrs Bennet, and is backed up beautifully by Phyllis Newman (SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING), Lois Bewley, Lauri Peters (THE SOUND OF MUSIC) and Lynn Ross as her other daughters.
The score by Robert Goldman, Glenn Paxton and George Weiss is quite interesting, though hardly suits the time-period of the piece.
All-in-all, a great recording for Broadway buffs.
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Format: Audio CD
"First Impressions" will not go down with "Oklahoma!" or "My Fair Lady" as a great acheivement. but this album is a great deal of fun. Hermione Gingold (the Grandmother in the film "Gigi" and the mayor's wife in the film "The Music Man," among other things,) is her usual "not a very good singer but tart tongued" self, and pretty much dominates the proceedings. She got excellent reviews during the out of town tryouts and then got panned in New York for everything that the out of town critics liked (I've never understood why the critics in New York are so influential - it's all opinion. And do these people get their position because they know anything or because they can write entertainingly? Some critics hated "Oklahoma! which ran for 5 years, and they all hated "Phantom," which is going on 26 years!) Farley Grainger was obviously selected because he was a good looking film actor - he can't sing and so his material was written to accomodate his limited abilities. Polly Bergen is darn near perfect. On "Love Will Find Out the Way" she sounds as if she is reaching for some of those top notes, but her deeper, husky voice (she was a well known pop singer at the time) is far more suited to the independednt, headstrong Elizabeth Bennett than a typical Broadway soprano would have been. Columbia spent a fair chunk of change on the engineering job. They were the leader in the '50s and '60s in the recording of cast albums. Especially at the beginning and end of the overture, the orchestra does a very good job of sounding larger than it was with all of the 18th century flourishes. Elizabeth's opener, "I'm Me explains all you need to know about her in one song, and her "This Really Isn't Me" is just pure fun. So are Mrs.Read more ›
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