Raise your hand if you’re working on a musical titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo who Played with Fire and Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Stand on a chair and wave if you’re a pint-sized performer, denied the roles that go to leggy lasses but eager to play 4’11” Lisbeth Salander. Not since witnessing the musical Rent and realizing that we’d seen the last work of its late creator, Jonathan Larson, has an arts phenomenon mixed such excitement with so much regret, in this case that we’d hear no more from the late Steig Larsson. In a few days, I’ll drop from 8,400 feet in Colorado back to Omaha, but I’ll save the third Salander saga for my next flight somewhere. I was reading the second on a flight from Seattle to Denver when the tall flight attendant (Was the stewardess one of Steig’s fellow Swedes?) said the passenger in front of me was reading the same book. Wife Carol occupied the aisle seat reading J.D. Robb, but the gray-haired woman in the window seat reacted to the Larsson literary reference. She hadn’t read the Lisbeth trilogy, “I devoured them.” Talk about a 21st century heroine. Any day now I expect to see a variation on the Texas bumper sticker, one that warns, “Don’t mess with Salander.” I’m reminded that in 1925 a Brit lectured Omahans that radio would mean the end of theater. That was the first of 86 seasons for the Omaha Community Playhouse, where Footloose is now playing. Now we hear warnings about the Internet spelling doom for newspapers, magazines and books. Then along came Harry Potter and now the best-selling books by Steig Larsson. So keep reading and keep picking up The Reader. By the way, I did feel a bit guilty about escaping Seattle just as folks in red t-shirts were arriving for the Husker game with Washington U. And I was sorry I missed The Green Sheep at the professional Seattle Children’s Theatre. It’s a neighbor to the Space Needle so we rode the Monorail and then strolled by the theater just as moms and toddlers filed in for the 10 a.m. performance. We weren’t quite the target 1-to-4-year-old audience. But we saw street performers at the Pike Market by the Seattle waterfront and experienced a theatrical style that always intrigues me: namely tour guides. We passed through the Juan de Fuca Strait to Victoria, where we heard a guide who specialized in the spontaneity that puts the robotic ones to shame. Remind me to share his story about the greatest Canadian. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

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