Even before Nickelson was offered the role of Coalhouse Walker, pianist and protagonist, the acclaimed actor/director was already familiar with the character; he saw Ragtime performed at the Buell Theater almost a decade ago. "I thought, 'What a lovely role,' even though at the time I didn't even think about playing it," Nickelson recalls. While fulfilling the role, he'll concede Shadow duties to his two "very competent" full-time employees.
The show begins tonight at 6:15 p.m. and runs through May 26; future showtimes vary depending on the date. Tickets start at $27 and include dinner, which is served by cast members minus Nickelson and his associate artistic director, Hugo Jon Sayles. ("I would rather be a janitor than wait tables," Nickelson says.) Call 303-449-6000 or log on to www.theatreinboulder.com for reservations or more information; Boulder's Dinner Theatre is at 5501 Arapahoe Avenue. Youth, student and group discounts are available.