While real-world passions have a tendency to cool over time, the amorous heart of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has been fervently beating since its debut over 200 years ago. Set amid the refined gentry of 19th-century England, the improbable yet inevitable attraction between the headstrong Elizabeth Bennet and the haughty Mr. Darcy has been prime swooning material for generations of romantics. The work's lasting appeal can be measured by the numerous adaptations made over the years, the latest being the Guthrie Theater's highly anticipated staging of playwright Simon Reade's comically high-spirited edition. Of course, a major reason for the exceptional buzz can be credited to the casting of Minnesota-born Vincent Kartheiser, best known for portraying the oily Pete Campbell on television's Mad Men, in the role of Mr. Darcy. But while the homecoming of Kartheiser is certainly newsworthy, it would be a shame to overlook Ashley Rose Montondo as Elizabeth Bennet. Pride and Prejudice represents Montondo's highest profile role to date, providing the U of M/Guthrie BFA graduate with a well-deserved spotlight. Supported by a first-rate ensemble under the direction of Joe Dowling, Austen's detailed dalliances should achieve an irresistible vitality. Despite celebrating its bicentennial anniversary, Pride and Prejudice might just be the most rousing romance of the summer. In previews July 6-11.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 6. Continues through Aug. 31, 2013