- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004

A real estate

Anyone in the market for a 12-room Victorian mansion in Minnesota?

Actress Jessica Lange and her companion, the playwright Sam Shepard, are selling the estate where they’ve lived for nine years.

The Stillwater, Minn., mansion, which sits on a 2-acre site overlooking the St. Croix River, has been on the market since mid-May with an asking price of $3.3 million.

“It’s a remarkable property in every respect,” real estate agent Sharon O’Flannigan, who is handling the sale, told Associated Press.

In 1995, Miss Lange and Mr. Shepard paid $415,000 for the house — a former bed-and-breakfast built in 1892 atop one of Stillwater’s highest points — and $125,000 for adjoining property.

Veni, vidi, vici

The way Melanie Allen tells it, anyone could be a classics major at Harvard and then go on to become a Rockette.

But the 29-year-old, a comely member of a female ensemble in “The Producers” — at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House through Aug. 22 — has a leg up (literally) on other aspirants: She was a varsity field hockey player before she became a saltatricis. (That’s Latin for “dancing girl.”)

“It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t something I decided. I just went along for the ride, not knowing how far I could take it,” Miss Allen says of her unlikely shift from Ivy’s hallowed halls onto the stage at Rockefeller Center where she spent four years.

The Lancaster, Pa. native quit dancing lessons at 13 to play sports — hockey, basketball and softball — and didn’t go back to dance class until she accompanied her college roommate “for moral support” to an audition for “A Chorus Line.” She ended up getting a part.

By then she had eight years of Latin under her belt.

“I just love it and feel fortunate I was exposed to it at an early age. I fell in love with the history and mythology of it.

“I have to say I don’t use the Latin too much in my current career,” Miss Allen continues. “Maybe someday I’ll get back into it and become a teacher.”

Ann Geracimos

Friends of Gram

An all-star, two-day tribute to the late country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons is set for July 9 at the Santa Barbara Bowl and July 10 at the Universal Amphitheater near Hollywood.

“Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons” is being organized by Mr. Parsons’ daughter, Polly, according to Reuters News Agency. Net proceeds will go toward the Musicians’ Assistance Program, a drug and alcohol rehab initiative.

Performers will include Keith Richards, who brought Mr. Parsons into the inner circle of the Rolling Stones; Norah Jones; Steve Earle; Lucinda Williams; Dwight Yoakam; Raul Malo and Jay Farrar.

Go West

Actress Diane Keaton collected the Utah governor’s award for devotion to the arts this past weekend.

After being praised for her dedication to Western American art by Gov. Olene Walker, Miss Keaton demurred, saying, “I don’t know who you’re talking about, but it’s not me.”

Miss Keaton said she began collecting Western art when she and her sister, Dorrie Hall, received “Desert Dreams,” a collection of paintings by Utah artist Maynard Dixon, according to AP.

Since then, she and Miss Hall have collected pieces of the art genre that they consider largely overlooked.

“I am thrilled that some of those artists, who have slipped through the cracks, will find a home in Utah,” Miss Keaton said at the ceremony, held at the new Museum of Utah History and Art.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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