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Queen of the B’s

Color Adrienne Barbeau minor. “I grew up in an Armenian background, with all the minor music and minor melodies,” says the actress. “That stuff really touches a chord in me. It’s almost primal. So when they called me about this--and described the music as country & Western Kurt Weill--I jumped.”

“This” is the musical adaptation of Nelson Algren’s Depression-era “A Walk on the Wild Side” (at the Back Alley in Van Nuys), in which Barbeau plays prostitute Hallie. “It’s the first time I’ve really been allowed to be sensual in a role. People think of me that way--but I don’t play those roles. I don’t, you know.”

Barbeau usually plays strong, hard-edged characters--or variations on her horror flick (“The Fog,” “Swamp Thing,” “Creepshow”) repertoire.

Although she adores the stage, Barbeau says she’s equally content on a movie set--even if she’s just waiting to act.

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“One day on ‘Back to School,’ they called me in at 7 in the morning and I sat till 4 that afternoon--and they didn’t use me,” she says. “They released me, sent me home. I got home, they called me back to the set. I got there at 7 at night and sat until 2 the next morning--and they still didn’t use me.”

The other love of her life is her son Cody, 4, by her estranged husband, director John Carpenter.

“Cody is writing his own movie scripts now,” Barbeau says. “There’s one called ‘The Ghost of Skeleton,’ which is about two pages long. The guy really had skin, but he took it off because he wanted to scare everyone and turn himself into a dragon. When he’s a dragon, he turns himself into a ‘dinosaur tyranadon’ that flies. And then a space ship’s taking him back to Mars, where he lives.”

But she laughs off any worries about the boy’s imaginings: “Cody’s been watching full-length feature films since he was 2--everything from ‘Godzilla’ to the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy to ‘Forbidden Planet,’ ” she says. “Would I let him watch ‘The Thing’? The original one, sure. Not John’s ‘Thing.’ But monsters hold no terror for him; they’re what he lives and dies for. I’d have more concern if he said he wanted to be an actor.”

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