The American Legacy
Metropolitan Playhouse
The American Legacy

220 East Fourth Street  ~  New York, New York   10009
(212) 995 8410
"Theatrical archaeologist extraordinaire" - - Back Stage

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Casting On Striver's Row
Spring 2017

Metropolitan is casting Abram Hill's On Striver's Row for the spring of 2017.

AEA Stipend for entire commitment is $650.00. Smaller, non AEA roles: $300.00.

Rehearsals April 19 - May 18; Performance May 19 - June 18.

Interested actors, please submit to and
INCLUDE "On Striver's Row" in subject line, or the submission will not be seen!

A description of the play follows the roles.


COBINA VAN STRIVEN:  African-American.  She is eighteen and a student at Radcliffe College.  She greatly desires to escape her parents world of “phoney bolonies.”  Yet she feels obligated to dutifully adhere to her parents plans for her debut into society.   For the past year she has secretly been spending time with Chuck.

ROWENA:  African-American.  She is nineteen or twenty, with a searching stare in her eyes.  She is Tillie’s niece.  She most desires that someone will really listen to her, to validate her existence.

BEULAH:  African-American.  She is a loose swaying girl of twenty-two.  She enters a room and “would silence a telephone” with her loud, brash and bold disruptive presence.  The actress will need to be comfortable dancing a Lindy Hop with Joe.

SOPHIE:  African-American.  A rather chic, casual andif extremely informal maid in her late-twenties/early thirties.  She’s been married four times and is currently single, happily mingling with Joe Smothers.  The actress will need to be comfortable briefly singing a melody without accompaniment.

LILY:  African-American.  She is somewhere between twenty and thirty, exotic and glamorous in a sort of theatrical yet genuine way.  For she truly loves being “onstage” and thinks of it as an act of generosity that can lead her to connect with her audience, wherever that may be.  She is a successful stage actress who has appeared in African-American productions of Shakespearean plays.  The actress will need to be comfortable doing bits of Shakespeare and some African & folk dancing.

MRS. LOUISE DAVIS:  African-American.  She is the long-loving and long-suffering wife of Dr. Davis.  She is also in her thirties.

DOLLY VAN STRIVEN:  African-American.  A well-bred, youthfully forty-ish matron of the Afro-American elite that descended from “Pre-Civil War Black and White Romeos and Juliets" in Rockland County, New York.  She is addicted to being perceived as a leading socialite within the African-American community.

TILLIE PETUNIA:  African-American.  A high-powered forty-ish, uppity “do wager”.  She radiates disarming superiority that is more calculated than real.  She is the editor & chief of a Gossip Newspaper called The Black Dispatch.

RUBY JACKSON:  African-American.  She is a happy, smiling woman of thirty-nine.  She is a former “first class cook for a Forest Hills family”, who recently won a large sum of money from a horse sweepstakes contest and is set on changing the residential surroundings in her life.   She is the angel of the play.  When asked by Mrs. Pace what she possesses that makes her worthy, her reply is “goodness”.

MRS. PACE:  African-American.  Dolly’s mother.  A very cold and stately woman of sixty who is Dolly’s mother.  She is extremely correct in her manner.  People say her eyebrows are optical wings of social deportment.  She comes from a long line of affluent African-Americans who settled in Rockland County, NY.  She is a retired former Dean of Women at Skidmore College.


CHUCK:  African-American.  A bashful boy of about twenty, who boldly intercedes on behalf of his affection for Cobina.  Faced with the objections of Cobina’s parents and their view of the world, he unleashes within himself a voice of unabashed integrity.

ED:  African-American.  He is a young man of about twenty-five.  He thinks rather highly of himself and most women find him irresistible, but not Cobina.  His father is a respected Judge.

JOE SMOTHERS:  African-American.  He is about twenty-five.  A man about town, anyway a man about certain towns, or if you will, certain parts of all towns.  His associates call him a “hepped cat”.  He refers to himself as “Joe The Jiver”.  Professionally he is a “sud-buster”, a dishwasher.  The actor will need to be comfortable dancing a Lindy Hop with Beulah.  The actor will also need be adept at doing rhyming couplets, similar to today’s Rap.

DR. LEON DAVIS:  African-American.  He is in his thirties.  His hands are unable to resist female contact.

OSCAR VAN STRIVEN:  African-American.  A business-like man about forty-five years of age.  Though he speaks with absolute sincerity, his mind seems to be somewhere else.  He has, to his family’s financial detriment, allowed himself to continually feed his wife’s addiction to the perception of elitism in the African-American community.

PROFESSOR HENNYPEST:  African-American.  He is a humble man, somewhere between forty and fifty, who has traded his youth for wisdom-he has gained more than he has lost in the bargain.  He is the Chair of Zoology at Tuskeegee University.  His favorite things in life are food and women.


Oscar and Dolly Van Striven are hosting their daughter’s debutante party in their townhouse on Striver's Row, but the success of the social event of the season is by no means guaranteed. A scheming socialite from Brooklyn, a judgmental grandmother, a secret boyfriend, a presumptuous lottery winner, and none other than 'Joe the Jiver' all want to come to this party.

The first major production of the American Negro Theatre in 1940 is described as a satire on African-American social climbing.  But Mr. Hill’s play is actually a “complex work masquerading as a farce, dealing with issues of class, gender roles and intra-racial stereotyping”.

On June 5, 1940 American Negro Theatre (ANT) was formed in Harlem housed in the basement of the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library.  The goal of it’s co-founders, Abram Hill and Frederick O’Neal, was to produce high quality productions of original plays that offered an honest portrayal of the life and concerns of the African-American community, and that “utilized it’s resources to develop racial pride in the theatre, rather than racial apathy.”  Some of ANT’s iconic alumni include Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Alice Childress, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, to name a few.  

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