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David Lostegaard (1945-2012)
by Steve Siporin
© April 4, 2012, Steve Siporin

David Gaard’s landmark gay play “And Puppy Dogs Tails” was listed as a “lost” play at the back of Terry Helbing’s “Directory of Gay Plays.” Imagine my surprise when, years ago, I was contacted by him, and informed that the play and its author were not lost, but thriving in New York. I was even more thrilled when I visited David and his partner Sandy during one of my infrequent visits to Manhattan, and spent a warm and enjoyable evening with them. When David decided to give his papers to ONE Archives, I was amazed to see a copy of his “lost” play. David’s passing is a great loss to his husband, his family and friends, and to the GLBT and theater communities. — Bill Kaiser, Purple Circuit editor and founder.

David Lostegaard was one of the first gay liberation playwrights to write gay characters that weren’t suicidal, evil, or child molesters. In his 1969 comedy “And Puppy Dog’s Tails,” he featured young men who just had the normal problems of youth. It was among the highest-grossing productions of that theatrical season.

After its run at the Astor Place Theater in New York City, productions of “And Puppy Dog Tails” played in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Appearing in the Chicago production was actor Bill Murray, before he joined “Saturday Night Live.”

For many years, David and M. Sanford Kaplan operated the Off-Off Broadway Nighthouse Theater on West 18th St., in New York City. One of their major productions was the USA premiere of “The Women’s Representative,” a Chinese Communist play from The People’s Republic of China.

David also wrote other gay-themed plays which were produced Off-Off Broadway such as “About Bernard Carleton,” which he also directed, “Shadow Boy,” “Befriending Beau,” and “eXs.”
    [ Please see the Purple Circuit - Playwright Listings for production information. ]

David often used the shortened “David Gaard” as the writer or director. He directed several well-received productions of “Stonewall Stories” by Carol Polcovar, first performed in 2007 at the Fresh Fruit Festival and later at the LGBT Community Center, both in Manhattan.

To support their theater projects David and Sanford owned telephone answering services in Manhattan and San Francisco.

During the short period in 2008, when California permitted same-sex marriage, David and Sanford were married in California by Pastor Hugh Romney (also known as Wavy-Gravy, entertainment and people activist of the Hog Commune and the Woodstock event). Hugh is married to David’s beloved friend from their college days at the University of Minnesota, Bonnie Beecher (now Jahanara Romney).

David Bruce Lostegaard was born on April 4, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, and was adopted by Edna and Al Lostegaard. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1962 and moved to Los Angeles where he worked in the mail room at the American Broadcasting Company. David assisted with production of the first publications of The Advocate, the first national gay newspaper.

David also worked for several Hollywood casting agencies. In 1967, he moved to New York City.

David died on March 29, 2012 in New York City. The cause of death was brain cancer. He was 71.

David Lostegaard was survived by his husband and life companion of 45 years, Sanford Kaplan, his brother-in-law Bob (Renee) Kaplan, his nephews Scott, Bradley and Randy Kaplan, his younger sister Mary and her family, his friends Jahanara and Hugh Romney, his many Minnesota relatives. He is also deeply missed by his publicist and one of his long-time friends, me.

Copyright 2012 by Steve Siporin.

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