SocialMiami Remembers: Joe Adler

1940-2020: The GablesStage director left a permanant impact on South Florida's theater community

Joe Adler and Christine Dolen

South Florida theater director Joseph Adler died from cancer at age 79, and the community is mourning the loss of a major personality and artistic producer. During his time at GableStage, the company was the recipient of 59 Carbonell Awards and 197 Carbonell nominations, according the GablesStage website.  Adler has directed at theaters across the state including Coconut Grove Playhouse, New Theatre, Area Stage, Hollywood Boulevard Theatre, Players Theatre, Ruth Foreman Theatre, Florida Shakespeare Theatre, City Theatre, Hollywood Playhouse and Shores Performing Arts. He has also directed hundreds of television commercials and industrial films, many of which won awards.

Miami Herald theater critic Christine Dolen, who reportedly met Adler just out of high school, told her own paper’s Howard Cohen in his obituary: “Joe was, in so many was, the godfather of edgy, serious theater in South Florida. An uncounted number of the region’s finest actors worked with him. The experience wasn’t always easy; Joe loved to push, prod and debate, and rehearsals could be an intense experience. But his gifts as a director, his often cinematic staging style, resulted in highly impactful theater and numerous Carbonell Awards.”

Adler was born in Brooklyn, New York and studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, graduating from the Film Department at New York University. He relocated to South Florida after working in advertising on Madison Avenue with his wife Joan Murphy Adler, who died of lung cancer in 1995. He’s survived by his son Noah and partner Donna Urban.

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