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Finding Aid to the David Gaard Theatrical Works and Short Stories

Finding aid prepared by Michael C. Oliveira and Jennifer Darwent., © 2014

Summary Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Gaard, David, 1945-2012
David Gaard theatrical works and short stories
Collection no.
Date [inclusive]
circa 1965-2010
10.0 linear feet., 6 archives cartons, 1 archives box, 1 archives half-box, 2 archives flat boxes.
Scripts and screenplays of original theatrical works and adaptations for the stage and screen by David Gaard, alone and in collaboration with others. Production and performance materials, including contracts, set designs, printouts of e-mail, schedules, fliers, postcards, programs, and reviews.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] David Gaard Theatrical Works and Short Stories Coll2008-072, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

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David Gaard was born April 4, 1945, in Duluth, Minnesota. He graduated from high school early, just after his 16th birthday. He attended the University of Minnesota; however his participation in Vietnam War protests, a role in a university theater production, and an active social life left little time for his studies. In the autumn, he left school and stayed in Minneapolis, obtaining a role in a community theater production. When the show closed, he convinced his parents of his need to "find himself", and with their blessings he left for Los Angeles.

He found a number of positions through the California State Employment Office, including one with a Hollywood casting agency. Gaard also found bit parts in various stage productions through Minnesotan connections. His work and social life continued to leave little time to complete projects; after leaving a group sales position, Gaard returned to writing. For three months, he focused on writing each afternoon, allowing time in the evening for his social life. By early 1967, he had completed his first play, Lee Foster. After receiving positive feedback from friends, he relocated to New York City to sell his play.

In the city he found a "dark and depressing studio apartment in the bowels of Hells Kitchen", a job, and within a month met his future life companion, M. Sanford Kaplan, a married graduate anthropology student at New York University. While Kaplan sought to overcome his ambivalence about his future, Gaard returned to writing. By the autumn of 1968, Gaard had completed the play, And Puppy Dog Tails, and he and Kaplan were living together. The play previewed in September, only months after the Stonewall riots, and ran successfully through January 1970 in New York, and through that summer in San Francisco. The following year, Bill Murray played a part in a Chicago production.

Off-Off Broadway, with its understanding of the counter culture of which Gaard and Kaplan were a part, was booming. Gaard continued writing and Kaplan continued his graduate work, including a trip to Bali in the early 1970s. They arranged to meet in Nepal; during the trip Gaard purchased a script for Sun Yu's play The Women's Representative. He adapted the play and it was performed in New York. This changed the fortunes of Mr. Sun and led to Gaard's trip to the People's Republic of China a decade later.

In New York City, Gaard's works were been performed at The Old Reliable and The Extension; he adapted works for Richard Schechner's Performance Group and was a founding member of the Nighthouse Company. In 1975, Gaard and Kaplan left New York for Northern California. With the advent of AIDS, "the whimsical world of And Puppy Dog Tails had turned into a vicious frightening mad dog". They sold their telecom business, relocated to Woodstock, New York, and Gaard returned to writing in the early 1990s.

In 1994, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC) selected one of his plays for a reading of new works at Lincoln Center. In the following years Gaard worked with avant-garde troupes such as GAil GAtes et al, Gorilla Repertory Theatre Company, The International WOW, and New York Fringe Festival. The New Jersey Public Library selected his play, Made for Each Other, for their AIDS awareness series in 1996; however, library officials closed the play during the opening night intermission.

Gaard continued with several success productions at the HERE Arts Center. He garnered the Audience Favorite Award for his production of All's Well That Ends Well at the 2000 New York Fringe Festival. Gaard lived in New York, New York with his life companion of 45 years, until his death in March 2012.

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Scope and Content of Collection

The collection contains original and adapted works of playwright David Gaard, written alone and in collaboration with others, including his long-term partner, M. Sanford Kaplan. The materials include proposals, treatments, drafts, scripts, and screenplays for developed and undeveloped projects. The production project files contain a variety of production and promotional documentation, including scripts, set designs, e-mails, schedules, fliers, postcards, programs, and reviews.

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This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1. Original Writings

Series 2. Adaptions and Productions

Series 3. Personal and Miscellaneous

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
© 2014
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771

Revision Description

 Accrual processed and finding aid revised., February 2014


The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of David Gaard per deeds of gift dated December 29, 2001; February 22, 2005; November 20, 2007; and donation accessioned September 14, 2010.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira, December 2008. Accrual processed and finding aid revised by Jennifer Darwent.

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

The following materials were separated to the ONE Periodical collection:

Center Happenings (New York, New York) Volume 24, Issue 4 (April 2008); Volume 23, Issue 6 (June/July 2008)

Gay City News (New York, New York) June 19-25, 2008

HX (New York, New York) Issue 736 (October 2005) and 2 copies of Issue 877 (June 2008)

On The Purple Circuit Volume 11, Number 3

The following VHS (TM) videotapes of Gaard performances were separated to the ONE Audio/Visual collection

VV3006 Made for Each Other

VV3007 90 Degrees from the Equinox by Michael Counts

VV3008 Sheets

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Scripts (documents)
  • Treatments (documents)


  • Gay dramatists
  • Gay theater
  • Screenplays
  • Stage adaptations

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Personal Name(s)

  • Bausch, Richard, 1945-:  
  • Brecht, Bertold, 1898-1956:  
  • Carroll, Lewis, 1832-1898:  
  • Cummins, Robert:  
  • Ionesco, Eugene, 1909-1994:  
  • Kaplan, M. Sanford:  
  • Kingsley, Sidney, 1906-1995:  
  • Lentsch, Bill:  
  • Muldowney, Dominic, 1952-:  
  • Peterson, John:  
  • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616:  
  • Sophocles, 496 BCE-406 BCE:  
  • Swenson, Swen, 1932-:  
  • Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950:  
  • Yu, Sun, 1900-:  

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1: Original Writings circa 1966-2004 

Series Scope and Content

The Original Works Series consists of works for stage and/or screen written by Gaard, alone or in collaboration with his partner, M. Sanford Kaplan. The series consists of proposals, treatments, and production and promotional materials, including scripts, set designs, schedules, flyers, postcards, programs, and reviews. The plays are organized alphabetically title. Gaard's first completed play, Lee Foster was performed as  The Acme Novelty Company; another early Gaard play,  Swing to the Right was performed as  The Day They Gave Babies Away.

 About Bernard Carlton 1999   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Early script with notes, revised scripts, promotion materials, and reviews 1999 

1 1-5

 Promotional materials and reviews 1999   [oversized]

5 1

 Script 1999 

6 1

 Slides circa 1999 

9 1

 The Acme Novelty Co. 1971   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Script 1971 

1 6

 Script 1971 

6 2
Box Folder

 An All American Hero script 2006 

6 3

 And Puppy Dog Tails 1969-1975   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs 1974-1975 

4 1

 Press materials and reviews 1969-1975 

6 4-5

 Scripts and promotional materials 1974-1975 

1 7-8
Box Folder

 Any Other Rapture script 2005 

6 6

 As Tears Go By 1999   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Script 1999 

1 9

 Script 1999 

6 7
Box Folder

 At Any Price script 2003 

6 8

 Befriending Beau 2000-2002   [6 folders]

Box Folder

 Photograph circa 2002 

4 3

 Press materials and reviews 2002 

6 9

 Promotional materials, ticket sale reports, and reviews 2000   [oversized]

5 2

 Scripts, screenplay, production and promotional materials, and reviews 2000-2002 

1 10-12
Box Folder

 Cocaine Before Chapel early script circa 1985 

1 13

 The Day They Gave Babies Away revised script circa 1973 

1 14

 eXs 2001-2002   [3 folders]

Box Folder

 Script, promotional materials, and reviews 2001-2002 

1 15-16

 Slides circa 2001 

9 3
Box Folder

 The Eye of Shiva undated 

6 10

 The Fabulous Ten O'Clock Scholar 1999-2003   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Scripts 1999-2003 

1 17

 Script 1999 

6 11

 The File on Ryan Carter 2005-2007   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs circa 2005-2007 

4 5

 Scripts, programs and press materials 2005-2007 

6 12-15
Box Folder

 Flash!! scripts by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan 1997   [2 folders]

1 19-20

 Fog Over Frisco 1995-2005   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 First, second and third drafts 1995 

6 16-19

 Script undated 

6 21

 Synopsis, sample dialogue, screenplay 1995 

1 21-22

 Screenplay 2005 

6 22

 Fog Over Frisco and  High Crimes and Treason notes circa 1995 

6 20
Box Folder

 The Ghost of Sergeant Pepper synopsis, outline of screenplay and novel, and three sample chapters 1994   [2 folders]

1 23-24

 Goodbye to the Silver Queen Act 1 script undated 

6 23

 Gramercy Park Dot Com project outline circa 1997 

1 25

 Happy New Year, Lady Lou! 2008-2009   [4 folders]

Box Folder

 Press materials, programs and reviews 2009 

7 1

 Scripts 2008 

6 24-26

 High Crimes and Treason 1995-2002   [4 folders]

Box Folder

 Synopsis and scripts 1995-2002 

1 26-28

 Scripts 1995-1996 

7 2-3
Box Folder

 Hook, Line, and Sinker screenplay rough draft 1998 

2 1

 Later Than Spring rough draft and script 1994 

2 32

 Lee Foster script circa 1966 

2 2

 The Lines and Times of Calvin Overmeyer short story circa 1997 

7 4

 Made for Each Other 1996-1998   [9 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs - publicity stills 1997 

4 7

 Press materials and reviews 1997 

7 5

 Reviews 1996-1998   [oversized]

5 3

 Screenplay by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan 1998 

2 7-8

 Scripts, production materials, and reviews 1996-1998 

2 3-6

 Slides 1997 

9 4

 The Marilyn Project 1974-1975, 2004   [4 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs 1975 

4 9

 Press materials and reviews 1975 

7 6

 Script 1974, 2004 

2 9-10
Box Folder

 Meet Me at the Astor rough draft and script 2000   [2 folders]

7 7-8

 Mother's Day treatment by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan 1999 

2 11

 New Words script 2005 

7 9

 Not Far From Spring script 2000 

7 10

 The Ocean Breeze Motel Memorial Cha Cha Cha short story undated 

7 11

 Power Strokes 1999-2001   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs - Casting Headshots 1999-2000 

4 12

 Script 1999 

7 12

 Ticket sale reports and reviews 2000   [oversized]

5 4

 Working script, production and promotional materials, and reviews 1999-2001 

2 12-13
Box Folder

 Praire Light script circa 1982 

2 14

 The Red Witch short story 2000 

7 13

 The Sailor, Home from the Sea 1999-2000   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Promotional materials 1999-2000 

7 14

 Promotional posters undated   [oversized]

5 15

 Script, production and promotional materials, and reviews 1999-2000 

2 15-17
Box Folder

 The Sand Castle scripts 1966   [3 folders]

7 15-17

 Shadow Boy 2001   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Script 2001 

2 18-20

 The Shadow People script and promotional materials 2001 

7 18

 Promotional posters circa 2001   [oversized]

5 16

 Sheets 1997-1998   [6 folders]

Box Folder

 Production and promotional materials and draft and revised scripts by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan 1997-1998 

2 21-24

 Reviews 1998   [oversized]

5 5

 Script circa 1997-1998 

7 19
Box Folder

 Something Evil synopsis rough draft circa 1995 

2 25

 The Song of the Chartreuse Canary script 2003 

7 20

 Steve Adams and the the Curse of the Vindictive Heart cast List circa 1973 

2 26

 That Summer in San Francisco rough draft 2001-2004 

7 21

 Swing to the Right script 1969 

2 27

 The Talent for Deception script, production proposal, and synopsis circa 1995 

2 28

 The Ten O'Clock Scholar (working title) script rough draft 1999 

1 18

 This is Vicki short story undated 

7 22

 Thursday's Child rough draft circa 1995 

2 29

 Untitled works undated 

7 23

 Virtual Lives script 2000 

7 24

 Young and Deadly script 1998-1999   [2 folders]

2 30-31

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Series 2:  Series 2: Adaptations and Productions 1973-circa 2005 

Series Scope and Content

The Adaptations and Productions Series consists of theatrical works and screenplays adapted, directed, or produced by Gaard. The series consists of proposals, treatments, along with production and promotional materials such as scripts, set designs, schedules, flyers, programs, and reviews. The series also includes unknown photographs and slides from performances. The plays are organized alphabetically by performance title.

Box Folder

 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, produced by M. Sanford Kaplan and David Gaard, script 1997 

3 1

 All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare, conceived and adapted by David Gaard 2000   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Treatment, script, production and promotional materials, and reviews 2000 

3 2-5

 Promotional material and reviews 2000   [oversized]

5 6

 Antigone by Sophocles, adapted by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan 1996   [3 folders]

Box Folder

 Cast breakdown, synopsis and sample dialogue 1996 

7 25

 Modellbuch for a mixed media production 1996 

3 6

 Set sketches 1996   [oversized]

5 7
Box Folder

 The Battle for Brennan Street from a story by Robert Cummins, by David Gaard and M. Sanford Kaplan, screen treatment circa 1985 

3 7

 Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, directed by David Gaard, block book 1960 

7 26

 Dead End by Sidney Kingsley, directed by David Gaard 2001   [5 folders]

Box Folder

 Reviews 2001   [oversized]

5 8

 Script and promotional materials 2001 

3 8-9

 Script, programs and promotional materials 2001 

7 27

 Slides circa 2001 

9 2
Box Folder

 Fehler (alternate title:  The Sins of the Fathers) by Herbert Hirschberg, adapted by David Gaard, script 2004 

7 28

 The Flowroom by John Peterson, directed by David Gaard, production and promotional materials 1999 

3 10

 It's Enough to Make you Sick 3 plays directed by David Gaard and Bill Lentsch, flier 1973 

3 11

 It's Only Rock and Roll written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, book by David Gaard, lyrics 1989 

7 29

 The Killer by Eugene Ionesco, directed by David Gaard, proposal, script, and production and promotional materials 2001   [2 folders]

3 12-13

 La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini, adapted by David Gaard, story outline 1970 

7 30

 The Last Good Time based on a novel by Richard Bausch, play by David Gaard, script 1987 

3 14

 A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, produced by M. Sanford Kaplan and David Gaard, program 1997 

3 15

 Mother Courage by Bertold Brecht, translated by Ralph Manheim, edited by David Gaard and Richard Schechner 1974-1975   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Review 1975 

7 31

 Script 1974 

3 16
Box Folder

 Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, proposal by David Gaard circa 2005 

3 17

 My Mother Told Me I Was Different by Carol Polcovar, directed by David Gaard 1999-2008   [8 folders]

Box Folder

 Scripts and edits 2005-2006 

7 32-36

 Scripts 2007-2008 

8 1

 Promotional materials, reviews, printed photos and programs 2006-2008 

8 2

 Correspondence, funding requests and clippings 1999-2008 

8 3

 Photographs 2006 

4 10
Box Folder

 The Naked I by Tobias K. Davis, directed by David Gaard, script, program and promotional materials 2001, 2003 

8 4

 Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks, adapted by Joseph Jude Zito, directed by David Gaard, script and programs 2006 

8 5

 Two Gentlemen of Verona, by William Shakespeare 2001   [4 folders]

Box Folder

 Treatment for an environmental production conceived and directed by David Gaard 2001 

3 18-20

 Promotional material and reviews 2001 

5 9

 Ubu Roi and  Ubu Bound by Alfred Jarry, adapted by B.Y. Sitterly and Gerald Mast, directed by Gerald Mast, produced by David Gaard 1973   [3 folders]

Box Folder

 Promotional materials circa 1973   [oversized]

10 3

 Photographs 1973 

4 13

 Press and reviews 1973 

8 6

 Unidentified performance photographs circa 1970s, 1998   [3 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs circa 1970s 

4 14

 Photographs and a slide circa 1998 

4 15

 Slides undated 

9 5
Box Folder

 Wars, Whores, and Tin Pan Alley text by Bertold Brecht, music by Kurt Weill and Dominic Muldowney, conceived and adapted by David Gaard and Swen Swenson, scripts and programs 1986   [2 folders]

3 21-22

 To Whom It May Concern by Aurin Squire, directed by David Gaard 2006-2008   [2 folders]

Box Folder

 Script, programs and promotional materials 2006-2008 

8 7

 Photographs circa 2006 

4 16
Box Folder

 Wolf Kisses (original title:  Besos de Lobo) by Paloma Pedrero, adapted by David Gaard, script and press materials 2002   [2 folders]

8 9-10

 The Women's Representative by Sun Yu, adapted by David Gaard 1973   [4 folders]

Box Folder

 Script 1973 

3 23

 Promotional posters circa 1973   [oversized]

5 17

 Photographs 1973 

4 17

 Press materials and reviews 1973 

8 11

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Series 3:  Series 3: Personal and Miscellaneous 1994-2007 

Series Scope and Content

The Personal and Miscellaneous Series consists of various biographical and miscellaneous materials relating to Gaard's personal and professional life. The biographical information consists of an interview, autobiographical notes written for performances and to document the materials in his collection; it also includes Gaard’s personal recollection of the production of the PRIDE Newsletter, forerunner of the  Advocate. The Clippings file consists of newspaper clipping which may have been considered for concept development. The Correspondence File includes e-mail and letters not directly related to a work, other performance programs, and loose performance materials. The GAle GAtes et al. file documents several performances of the company. The spiral bound notebooks includes various incomplete titled works and acts, including  A Sky Full of Moon,  The Ghost of Sergeant Pepper,  Those are Revolting Queens.,  Dakota Visitor,  About Leonard Carrington, and  Midnight in Marrakech.

Box Folder

 Actors Equity Association undated 

8 12

 Biographical information circa 1975, 1999-2010 

Box Folder

 Documents [text] 1999-2010 

3 24

 Photographs circa 1975 

4 11

 Slide of David Gaard undated   [2 folders]

9 1
Box Folder

 Clippings 1965-2009   [2 folders]

8 15-16

 Clippings 1992-2000   [oversized]

5 10

 Correspondence 1972-2002 

3 25

 Floor plans and equipment lists circa 1999 

8 13

 Fringe Festival programs and newspapers 1997-2001   [oversized]

5 11

 GAle et GAtes et al. 1996 

General note

The folder contains promotional postcards, show programs, and a commemorative program of the GAle et Gates et al. company, circa 1996. The company produced To SEA, Another Mountain with Gaard and Kaplan.

3 26

 Gary Shelton print copies of Nobody for President 1976 1975   [oversized]

5 19

 Interviews with David Gaard 1970, 1973 

8 14

 Nighthouse Theatre productions 1974-2002   [10 folders]

Box Folder

 Photographs from the The Balcony directed by Michael Nee 1975 

4 2

 Photographs from Henrik Ibsen's Brand undated 

4 4

 Photographs from MacBeth undated 

4 6

 Photographs from Malini directed by Pamela DeSio 1975 

4 8

 Posters for Ibsen's Brand,  Pigjazz and  Poe: From His Life and Mind 1973-1974   [oversized]

5 12-14

 Posters for The Importance of Being Earnest and  Malini 1973-1974   [oversized]

10 1-2

 Programs, reviews, and history 1974-2002   [oversized]

8 17
Box Folder

 Partnership agreement for the Three and a Half Hours Company undated   [oversized]

5 18

 The Realist,  Garlic Press 1969-1975 

8 19

 Receipts and program designs undated 

8 18

 Spiral bound notebooks circa 1990-circa 1997   [3 folders]

3 27-29

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