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The War Of The Roses

    by Warren Adler


Please Note : This play is only available from us to customers in UK and Europe.
If you are outside this area, please go to Stonehouse Productions


The War Of The RosesWarren Adler’s iconic tale takes us from suburban bliss to a deadly territorial battle. Jonathan and Barbara Rose are at first glance the perfect couple. Jonathan has a stable law career whilst Barbara is an aspiring gourmet entrepreneur with a promising pâté recipe. Their large home holds the rich antique collection that originally brought them together, as well as the loving familial bond that intertwines them with their children (Eve and Josh, not seen). When Jonathan finds himself suddenly gripped by what is presumably a heart attack and Barbara confronts the loveless spell lingering between them, the sun-soaked sky that was once the Rose family union drifts into a torrential downpour. Their mutual hatred becomes ammunition in a domestic warfare that escalates in the most unpredictable ways while they helplessly eye their dwindling nuptial flame. After the chaos that unfolds at the end of the play, the audience might usefully pause for a moment of contemplation on the shape of today’s matrimonial bonds.

‘The War of the Roses’ has overtime, emerged as a synonym for modern divorce and its emotional aftershock. It is probably best remembered for being made into an iconic film released in 1989 starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito, and has created endless discourse on the dynamics of divorce, as well as now becoming part of the legal jargon describing the proceedings that lead up to and follow a messy divorce.

The War Of The RosesObviously a stage version of ‘The War of the Roses’ cannot hope to compete with the visual effects seen in the film, but the underlying essence of diverging dreams and increasingly bitter battles, are the essential elements inherent in this play. The war between Jonathan and Barbara is horribly mirrored and distorted by their lawyers, who vicariously fight for their own interests by manipulating the actions of their clients.

‘The War of the Roses’ illuminates the relationship-shattering materialism, contempt and selfishness of husband and wife by posing a pair of timeless questions: How far are we willing to allow our material possessions the power to define who we are? Are today’s marriages haunted by the struggle to get even?


OPTION 1 (9m, 3f) Easy Doubling of Support Roles
Principals (3m, 1f)
  Jonathan - Forty, sleek, handsome, yuppie lawyer, self-assured, fastidious, upwardly mobile and confident. From humble beginnings, he has made it and loves the good life, his possessions, his hobbies, his expensive car and house.
  Barbara - Late thirties, attractive, organized, focused on her work, intense, outspoken, obsessed with her possessions, her antiques, her ‘things’. She is determined to succeed in her new catering business.
  Goldstein - Fifties. Jonathan's divorce lawyer, Jewish, a short, pudgy, bald man with an officious air and a broad, slightly off-key sense of humour. Manipulative and superior.
  Thurmont - Forties, uptight, a dandy, suave, smooth, with an upper crust accent and the airs of a gentleman, used to authority and, like Goldstein, dead certain of the advice he is purveying.
Support (6m, 2f) '*' = small, or very small, cameo role
  Doctor - Forties, cocksure, with a cynical sense of humour. He appears to have seen it all, slightly weary of his patient's complaints.
 *Greek Ambassador - Fifties, portly, the picture of a diplomat in demeanor and dress. Dignified and courtly in manner, eager to ingratiate, but conscious of his status.
 *Ambassador's Wife - Late forties. Hefty, overdressed, and like her husband, aware of her status
 *Food Critic - Forties. Male. Superior in his tone, used to being courted, whimsical, aware of his power, especially in this situation.
 *Events Planner - Thirties, female, slender, well groomed, ingratiating.
 *Event Planner's Husband - Thirties. A quiet non-entity, living in his wife's shadow.
  Auctioneer - A typical old hand at the auctioneering game, competent, eagle-eyed, ingratiating and smarmy.
 *Man (at auction) - A middle-aged man, non-descript, a face in the crowd.
OPTION 2 (3m, 2f) Minimum Cast Size Possible
  The following cast is permitted as an absolute minimum:-

    Goldstein (doubling as Greek Ambassador)
    Thurmont (doubling as the Food Critic)
    Female (playing Auctioneer, Doctor and the Ambassador's Wife)

1) In this option, the Events Planner and Event Planner’s Husband do not appear.
2) If at all possible, it is much preferred that Goldstein and Thurmont are NOT doubled, and that two male actors take the support roles of Doctor/Greek Ambassador and Food Critic.


Please Note : This play is only available from us to customers in UK and Europe.
If you are outside this area, please go to Stonehouse Productions

Interested? Now take the next step ...

First, order a download of the FREE Preview script (contains between half and two-thirds of the entire script).
Then, if you still like it, buy and download the e-script (or order a printed script) and read the whole thing.
Now you've decided to stage a production, so request a Royalties Quotation.
Once the royalties are paid and you have been issued with a licence to perform, either...

  • buy a script copying licence, or
  • buy a cast size set of printed scripts

    ... before you start rehearsals.

Dont forget to ...

  • take lots of photo's at the dress rehearsal (close-ups and group action, rather than long shots), send them to us and we'll see if we can put them up on our website (credited and linked back to you of course).
  • send us a copy of your posters and programme (that's in your licence contract!)
  • send us any reviews (by e-mail) or comments - we'd love to hear what you think about it all.