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Hung Jury 

Soap-opera stud holds up verdict in courtroom thriller.

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As he steps on stage in Twelve Angry Men, Kevin Dobson is reminded of the time he was turned down for jury duty. The case pitted a railroad company against a business owner, who claimed his shop caught fire from sparks shooting from a passing locomotive. Because Dobson didn't buy the story, he didn't make the panel. "When they were selecting a jury, they came to me, and I told them that there was no way a train is going to be going fast enough to create heat, much less a spark. It's only going eight miles an hour, if that," says Dobson, who was a train-engineer apprentice before he got into acting. "I said, 'Impossible!' The attorneys said, 'See ya!'"He's now redeeming himself. In this Reginald Rose drama — which spawned the 1957 Oscar-nominated movie — Dobson plays Juror No. 10 among 12 dudes, who deliberate a death-penalty case in which a teenager stands trial for his dad's murder. While 11 of them think the kid is guilty, Juror No. 8 — played by Richard Thomas (John Boy in The Waltons) — argues for his acquittal. Dobson's character thinks otherwise. "With him, everything is black and white. He believes in his convictions," he says. "He's an I'll-do-it-my-way-and-the-hell-with-ya kinda guy."Dobson's no stranger to playing influential types. His résumé boasts starring roles as a detective on the '70s drama Kojak, a prosecutor on the '80s nighttime soap Knots Landing, and a governor on the daytime tearjerker One Life to Live. But he regrets never making it as a jury member. "It's a privilege, and that's what it's about," says Dobson. "That's where your opinion counts." Watch this dozen get dirty at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays through Sunday, December 9, at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $55. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.com.
Tuesdays-Fridays, Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: Nov. 30. Continues through Dec. 9, 2007

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