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Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Theater

Alexander to perform opening act for ACT

Seattle Times theater critic

Award-winning actress Jane Alexander will come to Seattle next year. The former chairwoman for the National Endowment for the Arts will star in "Mourning Becomes Electra," Eugene O'Neill's epic adaptation of "The Oresteia" of Aeschylus, reset in 19th-century New England.

The show, scheduled to open A Contemporary Theatre's 2002 season next spring, will be directed by ACT artistic honcho Gordon Edelstein and also feature Seattle actors Kevin Tighe and Clayton Corzatte.

Among the candidates for the remaining five slots in ACT's 2002 schedule are "Dirty Blonde," the hit Broadway piece by Claudia Shear about a woman's obsession with Mae West; "Homebody/Kabul," the newest work by "Angels in America" author Tony Kushner; a musical memoir by pop composer Randy Newman, "The Education of Randy Newman"; the local premieres of "Wintertime" by Charles L. Mee; a new work by acclaimed solo artist Dael Orlandersmith titled "Yellowman"; "The Philanthropist" by English dramatist Christopher Hampton; and new Seattle stagings of August Wilson's breakthrough 1984 script "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and Donald Margulies' "Sight Unseen."

Irwin back for more Beckett

Nimble performer Bill Irwin will be back at Seattle Repertory Theatre next spring, in his one-man show of four short pieces by Samuel Beckett, "Texts for Nothing." The production will be the final Bagley Wright Theatre offering in the Rep's 2001-2002 season.

Irwin is an old hand with Beckett and a familiar stage presence in Seattle. He has co-starred at the Rep in Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," in the rollicking comedy "Scapin," in a pre-Broadway run of his piece "Largely New York," and at the 5th Avenue Theatre in "Fool Moon."

Irwin recently performed "Texts for Nothing" to strong response Off Broadway and in San Francisco. For more details about the Rep's season, call: 206-443-2222.

Season lineups announced

• The SecondStory Repertory opens its third season next month at Redmond Town Center.

The Eastside company will present: "Snoopy!!! The Musical"; Peter Shaffer's comedy "The Public Eye"; the Ira Levin thriller "Deathtrap"; the Christmas show "No Hole Holiday"; the two-person musical "I Do! I Do!"; Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"; the recent tuner "Victor/Victoria"; and David Ives' comedy sketch album, "All in the Timing."

SecondStory Rep's children's company, SPROUTS, plans a four-show season of fairy tales: "Snow White & the Seven Dwarves," "The Princess & the Pea," "The Frog Prince" and "Goldilocks & the Three Bears."

Details: call 425-881-6777.

• Across the Sound, Bainbridge Performing Arts opens its next season with the comedy "The Foreigner" and continues with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"; the Brian Friel play about Irish sisters, "Dancing at Lughnasa"; and Gershwin's "Crazy For You."

The shows will be staged at The Playhouse on Bainbridge Island. Details: 206-842-8578.

• And over in West Seattle, the RipTide dinner-theater troupe is settling into a new venue, ArtsWest Playhouse.

RipTide's 2001-2002 lineup includes the D.L. Coburn drama "The Gin Game"; Sam Shepard's "True West"; the Neil Simon comedy "California Suite"; and the feminist musical revue "A ... My Name is Alice."

More details: 206-938-9793.

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