Hung Jury 

Soap-opera stud holds up verdict in courtroom thriller.

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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