Murder in the First has proved popular in its stage incarnation. The Dan Gordon's adaptation of his 1995 film, starring Jesus Christ Superstar's Ted Neeley as an embattled prisoner accused of a capital crime, will extend through July 2 at Ventura's Rubicon Theatre Company. "Dallas"' Larry Hagman makes a guest appearance as Judge Clawson. Linda Gray directs.
Neeley played Jesus in the movie version of "Jesus Christ Superstar," a role he reprised on tour in the mid-90's. Hagman is best known for playing J.R. Ewing on "Dallas," although his many appearances include five years of "I Dream of Jeannie" and the TV version of "Applause" with Lauren Bacall.
Murder in the First chronicles the life of an Alcatraz prisoner on trial for his life and the young public defender (South Coast Repertory's Joseph Fuqua) who befriends him. Together they bring down the federal maximum security prison system and start off the prison reform movement in America. Kevin Bacon won a Screen Actor's Guild Award for his turn as the prisoner who was tortured into almost losing his mind by his warden and the American prison system, in 1995's film version.
Gordon's writing credits include the screenplays to "Wyatt Earp" and the Oscar nominated film,"The Hurricane."
Tickets are $32.50-$27.50. Performances run through June 25. The Laurel Theatre is located at 1006 East Main Street. For reservations, call (805) 667-2900. -- By Christine Ehren