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A passion for "Pride'

People never seem to tire of the relationship between spunky Elizabeth Bennet and her snobbish suitor, Mr. Darcy, as recounted in Pride and Prejudice.

Jane Austen's first novel, generally considered to be her best, has inspired many an adaptation. The Hollywood version, in 1940, had a screenplay by novelist Aldous Huxley and Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier as Elizabeth and Darcy. An A&E miniseries in 1995 starred Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Firth showed up again as the Darcy character in Bridget Jones's Diary in 2001.

In 2003, there was even a Mormon version of the romantic classic, Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy, with the Bennet sisters as college roommates.

Two more film versions are due his year: Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood production in which Darcy is an American businessman (Martin Henderson) in India, and the Elizabeth character, named Lalita, is played by Aishwarya Rai. There will be another Pride and Prejudice, in its original 19th century English setting, with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.

Crossing the Bay is not the first attempt to put Austen's novel to music onstage. First Impressions, starring Polly Bergen as Elizabeth, had a brief Broadway run in 1959.

_ JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic

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