38 women have come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment

'Ragtime' will play on despite shortage of performers

The Costa Mesa Playhouse didn't get the actors it was looking for to fill the cast of "Ragtime." But apparently the Westside theater made some new friends.

Earlier this summer, the playhouse put out a call for black male vocalists to sing in the Harlem Ensemble, a six-man, six-woman chorus in the historical musical. With opening night approaching, the theater had six women but only three men to play the roles, which require black performers.

Michael Dale Brown, the playhouse's board president, said Wednesday that several people had called in the last week to offer their services, but the creative team decided that it was too late to rehearse new actors. He noted that one man contacted the playhouse from Germany — not to join the cast, but to voice support.

"Even though we weren't able to get the actors, we got a lot of good will from it," Brown said.

For the "Ragtime" performances this weekend, the playhouse will make do with nine Harlem Ensemble vocalists instead of 12. To give the impression of more voices, other performers will harmonize outside of the spotlight.

Brown said that as of Wednesday morning, the Friday and Sunday performances had sold out, with only a few tickets remaining for Saturday. That show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $30.

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