A LITTLE KNOWN fact about "The Late Christopher Bean," A which opened last week at the Kennedy Center: Nancy Reagan had her first professional part in a touring company of the show in the late 1940s. Sheila Tate, Mrs. Reagan's press secretary, said Mrs. Reagan recalls joining the company in Detroit, touring for awhile and then returning to New York with it to play the "subway circuit." "She played a girl who hides in the attic and had only two lines," Tate said, which is somewhat confusing because there is no part like that in the play as it was written.
Another Bean note: Jean Stapleton was reluctant, in an interview, to talk about her two actor children because she wanted them to be able to "get out from under her shadow." Her daughter, Pamela Putch, is understudying the two daughters of the household in which Stapleton is the maid, Abby . . .
After a brief hiatus caused by the editor's exhaustion and a severe lack of funds, the Actor's Center newsletter will resume publication soon in a somewhat scaled down form. President Celia Clark got a job in Florida and had to resign, and the audition hotline has been cold since being moved to new quarters. But editor Tony Saunders says all the problems are almost solved and will be discussed at the general membership meeting today at 7:30 p.m. in the Pepco auditorium . . .
The Howard University School of Drama has scheduled three public lectures. Francesca Dorn and Ellie Chamberlain will talk about performing Shakespeare on Thursday, Bob Alexander will have "a working session in the creative process" on Feb. 9, and Kathy Perkins will talk about stage lighting on Feb. 16. Call 636-7050.
The performance schedule for the final week of "Evita" is somewhat different from the usual: There will be a performance Monday at 8 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 p.m., but no performance Sunday . . . Arena Stage Associates, the theater's contributors, will meet next Monday to hear from associate director Doug Wager about the "Elmer Gantry" workshop that has been going on for a few weeks. Resident actors, with playwright Lanie Robertson and director Jim Nicola, have been trying to fashion a play from the Sinclar Lewis book. The verdict on whether the project will be part of next season is not in yet . . . Twelve local actors have been cast in "The Orphan's Revenge," which opens at Ford's Theatre on Feb. 20.
"Broadway Plays Washington" next week in a one-performance event that will be taped for the "Kennedy Center Tonight" television series. The lineup includes Beatrice Arthur, Pearl Bailey, Imogene Coca, John Cullum, Larry Kert, Melba Moore, Andrea McArdle and three other "Annies," Robert Morse, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinking (misspelled in the ad as "Rainkins"), John Raitt, Alexis Smith and Elaine Stritch, all singing hits from the various musicals they have been in, and hostessed by Debbie Reynolds. The show is plotted to last two hours, which is impossible . . .
The National Theater of the Deaf will perform "Gilgamesh" at the McLean Community Center tonight. Call 790-9223.
The Theater Communications Group reports that a survey of the 200 nonprofit professional theaters around the country showed an increase in income of 22 percent in 1981. Expenses, however, increased 25 percent, partly because of larger marketing and fund-raising staffs being added to compete for the contributions. Individuals gave more than foundations, corporations, or governments, the survey showed, and attendance is up by 11 percent.
Auditions: for the Summer Theater Institute of the Children's Theatre Co. of Minneapolis, which says it is the leading children's theater organization in the country. It has a large facility and is looking for 120 junior and high school students from 10 major cities. Auditions here are Sunday at the New Playwrights' Theater; call 612-874-0500 . . . The Institute of Outdoor Drama will hold auditions March 27 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Fourteen theaters with 1,000 jobs available will be represented. Write: 202 Graham Memorial 052A, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514. Drama will hold auditions March 27 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Fourteen theaters with 1,000 jobs available will be represented. Write: 202 Graham Memorial 052A, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514.