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About Danny Peterson

This letter was included in the program for the play, Tragedy: A Tragedy, when we renamed the Theatre in October 2007:

The Danny Peterson Theatre

Welcome to the newly christened Danny Peterson Theatre. Formerly known as Stage II, this flexible performance space is the home of the Theatre Arts Department. Here we hold all of our acting and voice classes, rehearse our main stage productions, and of course, offer performances to the university and local communities. It is a busy space, rarely quiet and frequently thriving with energy. It is the critical intersection where the activities of our program join with the participation of the public.

This past summer, our local theatre community and countless audience members unexpectedly lost a shining light. Danny Peterson was one of the most loved and revered theatre artists throughout the entire state of Idaho. He was a brilliant comedian, a character actor of the highest order, and a lifelong student of the theatre. He loved doing theatre more than anyone I have ever met—and Danny did a lot of it. After graduating from Boise State with a degree in theatre arts, Danny went to work helping to start a summer theatre—the Idaho Shakespeare Festival that now plays to over 50,000 a year. He became a favorite actor with the Idaho Theatre for Youth, inspiring hundreds of schoolchildren throughout the state, and at the Boise Contemporary Theater where he inspired the rest of us. He appeared as a guest artist and worked closely with theatre students at the College of Idaho, the University of Idaho, and right here at Boise State University.

We honor Danny and his prolific career. We are very thankful to the Boise State administration, particularly President Bob Kustra and his wife Kathy, for supporting the renaming of our theatre and for celebrating the achievements of one of our greatest alums. We thank Velma Morrison for her support as well, recognizing how important Danny was to this community.

Many of us in the department had the privilege of working with Danny closely over the years. As great an artist as he was, he was an even greater friend. Always cheery and smiling, with a quick joke or a long story to tell, he always, inevitably, unfailingly, made the day a lot brighter for us. And though I can hear him now telling us not to go to all that bother naming a theatre for him, and no matter how we nickname the space (the “Peterson,” the “Danny P”, the “Danny”), our days in here will always be a little bit brighter knowing that his spirit, and our memory of him, will never fade.

Richard Klautsch, Chair

Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing