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From Brownsville to Broadway: Warren Adler’s career pays homage to his roots

January 7, 2015 By Kathryn Cardin Brooklyn Daily Eagle
At 23-years-old, Adler (right) is in uniform at Pine Camp, NY during the Korean War in 1951. Photos courtesy of Steven Ramotar, Stonehouse Productions
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Making the transition from Brownsville to Broadway is not a common feat, but acclaimed author Warren Adler is doing just that. In fact, Adler has been carrying his heritage with him to the entertainment industry throughout his entire career. With more than 40 books under his belt, including the dark comedy “The War of the Roses,” which was made into the popular film starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito, the 87-year-old Brooklyn native continues to make strides within the literary, film and television circles.

Adler remains an active author with his countless new projects and developments.

“All I want to do now is preserve my authorial name. The reason you see my profile rising now is because I’m trying to create a legacy,” Adler says. “I’m an anomaly; I only write what I want [and] I don’t write for money — I’ve done it that way from the beginning. Our profile is going up and up deliberately, because if they forget your name, you’re dead. And all the major writers that I know, people are starting to forget who they are.”

Adler is currently in the process of several film, television and Broadway adaptations of his works. “The War of the Roses” is coming to Broadway for the 2015-16 season and will be produced by Tony Award-winners Jay Gutterman, Cindy Gutterman, Chathy Chernoff, Carl Moellenberg and Wendy Federman. Alex McAulay (“Eastbound and Down”) is also in the works of transforming Adler’s famous novels, “The War of the Roses: The Children” and “Cult” into feature films. His newest book, “Treadmill,” has also been recently released.

Other film and television projects are in development, such as Adler’s Fiona Fitzgerald mystery series titled “Capitol Crimes,” by veteran television writer and show runner Eric Overmeyer, (“The Wire,” “Law & Order,” “Treme”). Adler’s novels “Target Churchill,” “Mourning Glory,” “Residue” and many more are also set to become feature films. “The Sunset Gang,” a trilogy produced by Linda Lavin for the Public Television Network, is currently being developed for television.  

But even with his profile continuing to rise and his projects growing rapidly, Adler has never forgotten where he comes from. Although he resides in Manhattan now, he says he will always consider growing up in Brownsville to be a significant part of his life.

“I have written so many things about Brooklyn,” Adler says. “[I’ve written] short stories about the Depression in Brooklyn. During the Depression, the hot areas were filled with bums and drunks, that went to flop houses to sleep 10 cents a night — that’s what you saw in those days. It’s a completely different world [today].”

Adler’s collection of short stories, “New York Echoes: Stories of Love, Joy, Tragedy and Glory in New York City,” depicts the times when he would return to his childhood neighborhood and reminisce.

“The houses are gone, but the trees are still there,” he says.

In addition to gaining widespread recognition for his novels, plays, films and shows, Adler was named Alumni of the Year by NYU in 2009. Adler says his writing practices have changed since he first began his career, which may be a main reason for his long-term and seemingly never ending success.

“If you want to be a writer, you cannot do it half-assed. It used to be morning, when I would write. It’s still morning, but now I write all day long. I write something — I write blogs, I write plays and novels. I just write.”

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