Director Jacques Levy swears that this fall's national tour of "Doonesbury" (opening this week at the Warner) was not timed to coincide with the return of the comic strip. But he doesn't mind a bit. "If we were still running on Broadway there wouldn't be a tour," he said recently. "But it's a nice thing that it's going out when it's back in the papers, because it means Doonesbury is back in the consciousness of people who knew it before -- and those who didn't."

In fact, he added, if you are one of those few people who have not followed "Doonesbury" since 1970, seeing the musical would help you fill in the gaps. "The show catches them at a point of transition in their lives, when they're leaving the commune and heading out into the world . . . The strip will not be going over again the material contained in the musical."

Levy, who was not a regular reader of the strip because he doesn't buy a newspaper every day, began his career with the experimental Open Theatre. He still receives an income from the endless "Oh! Calcutta!," which he developed with Kenneth Tynan, and has written lyrics for Bob Dylan and the Byrds and directed Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Review" tour -- so his counterculture credentials are impeccable. He also had a role in turning "Doonesbury" into a musical play instead of a revue, developing it during a lengthy workshop process that Garry Trudeau, the strip's creator, participated in.

The sections of the show that lampoon current events and leaders are regularly updated, Levy said, and will be for the Washington opening and probably after the election. He has only one worry: "Will President Reagan try to co-opt the show by coming to it?"