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Curtain Rises on Chock-Full Broadway Season

From glittery musicals to renowned dramas, shows with many famous faces will open through early 1998

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The Scarlet Pimpernel, Nov. 9, is a swashbuckling musical adventure set during the French Revolution. The hero, the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, rescues victims from the clutches of the Reign of Terror. He combats the evil Chauvelin, a ruthless ruling overlord. Pimpernel must keep his identity secret, even from his love.

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The play is based on the novel by the Baroness Orczy. Terrence Mann, who played the original Beast in Broadway's hit "Beauty and the Beast," joins Douglas Sills and Christine Andreas in the cast. Peter Hunt directs.

Jackie: An American Life, Nov. 10, is another comedy with a seven-person cast, but this time the busy troupers play some 150 characters, all connected in some way with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It's written by Gil Hoppe, who also directs.

The Lion King, Nov. 13, is the one to beat for sheer magnitude. Elton John wrote the music for Tim Rice's lyrics, and offbeat puppeteer Julie Taymor is directing the production, based on the Walt Disney animation that racked up impressive movie-house grosses three years ago.

Street Corner Symphony, Nov. 17, features pop music of the '60s and '70s in a nostalgic revue, directed by Marion J. Caffey and performed by eight soulful singers.

Ivanov, Nov. 20, is a rarely seen Anton Chekhov drama about a Russian landowner whose life plummets into chaos when he falls out of love with his wife and falls in love with a rich young neighbor.

It was adapted by British playwright David Hare and stars the versatile Kline in a role originated by Ralph Fiennes in London, where the show fared very well last season. The director is Gerald Gutierrez.

The Diary of Anne Frank, Dec. 4, revives the 1955 play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, based on the real-life autobiography of a girl hiding from the Nazis with her family. Natalie Portman plays the title character for high-powered director James Lapine.

A View From the Bridge, Dec. 14, is Arthur Miller's classic drama about tensions and rivalries on the Brooklyn waterfront. Hard-working director Michael Mayer will leap from "Triumph of Love" to this production at the Roundabout, which has already kicked off the current season with excellent revivals of the musical "1776" and George Bernard Shaw's comedy "Misalliance."

The Capeman, Jan. 8, makes music with the unlikely subject of a Puerto Rican teenager charged with a New York City murder in 1959. Music by Paul Simon and words by him and Derek Walcott will be interpreted by Ruben Blades and Ednita Nazario, among many others, and staged by modern-dance master Mark Morris in his first outing as a Broadway director.

Ragtime, Jan. 18, turns E.L. Doctorow's darkly rollicking novel into a lavish musical. Terrence McNally adapted this story of three American families at the beginning of the 20th century - one upper-middle class, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, one socialist immigrant Jewish, and one African-American from Harlem - whose lives become intertwined as they get caught up in the events of their turbulent country.

Marin Mazzie and Audra McDonald head the large cast playing a mix of real and fictional figures, under director Harold Prince's guiding hand. Milos Forman's movie version of the novel was liked more by critics than everyday audiences, but Broadway is banking on a full-scale smash.