Mr. Westphal was born on September 5, 1950, in Vandalia, IL, to Laurel M. Westphal and Cleo M. Williams, and grew up in nearby Farina. He received an equity card for the chorus of the third season of “Little Me,” produced in 1970, when he performed at the Little Theater in Sullivan Square, Illinois. Mr. Westphal soon moved to New York, where his career and love for choirs developed. He has appeared on dozens of shows, including Applause’s national tour and a production of Hello, Dolly! With Carol Channing and Cabaret with Jack Gilford. During his artistic career, he also worked as a stage manager and choreographer.
Mr. Westphal first became a member of the Eastern Actors’ Equity Choir in 1981, a position he has held for 20 years. As a member leader, he has served on the Electoral Procedures Committee, the Nominations Committee (including as Chair), ACCA Vice-Chair and Deputy Committee Vice-Chair. He was also a member of the production contract negotiation team and volunteered for VITA to assist his colleagues with their tax returns.
In addition to his theater career, Mr. Westphal has also worked as a masseur. During the AIDS crisis, he volunteered to work with Equity members battling the disease.
In 2007, Mr. Westphal joined the union as a business representative to focus on the needs of choir members. During his tenure, he led the Legacy Robe ceremony and hosted the opening nights of most Broadway musicals. He was with Equity for 13 years and retired when the pandemic started.
“David is an advocate for choirs,” said Jennifer Cody, second vice-president of the Actors’ Rights Association and chair of the Advisory Committee on Choral Affairs (ACCA). “He came from the choir. He was instrumental in bringing about the ACCA Awards every year. He mentored me when I first became second vice president.
“Many will remember him as the man behind the pass-through gown ceremony. At each of those ceremonies, he would bring all the people who made their Broadway debuts to center stage, and anyone who has seen the ceremony can attest to the moment when he had joy. That’s David.”
Mr. Westphal is survived by his sisters, Mary Kay Sigrist and Nancy Harper, and his brother, Ted Westphal, as well as five nieces and nephews and 12 great-grandnieces and nephews.