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Home » Cougar Foundation Hall of Fame » 2004 Cougar Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees » Peter Van Slyke, Class of ‘74, Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Peter Van Slyke, Class of ‘74, Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Peter Van Slyke graduated from Sahuaro in the class of 1974. While at Sahuaro he was elected and served as Student Body President 1973-74. According to Bill Burgess he was an outstanding drama student. Among his other activities were Viva Staff, Mountain Shadows staff, Thespian Society, Boys State and Sahuaro TV.

From Sahuaro, Peter went on to get his B.A. Degree from the University of Arizona and then did graduate work at the University of Washington, Seattle. While in Washington he auditioned for The Seattle Repertory Theater, which resulted in him being hired by the Arizona Theater Company. He also performed with most of the theater groups in Tucson. From 1977 to the present time, Peter has been with the Gaslight Theater as an actor, playwright, director and artistic director. At Gaslight, Peter has written over 50 plays.

According to Bill Burgess in his nomination of Peter: “Peter is a master of the melodrama style and the double entendre. All his plays are reworks of old, well known stories with an occasional contemporary plot. Working in the same style as Elizabethian dramatists he is able to take old plots, write for a company of actors with whom he has worked for years. He knows the actors’ talents well. Like Elizabethian actors they each have their speciality as to the type of character they play best.”

“Peter is probably better known around town than any other actor, director or playwright. His work gives pleasure and entertainment to the people all over Southern Arizona, the United States, and other countries in the world. Gaslight Theater plays to more than 110,000 people per year, many of them winter visitors and foreign tourists. Taking into account the 27 years that Peter has been with Gaslight Theater, his plays and his acting and directing have probably been seen and enjoyed by more people than any actor, director, or playwright in Tucson. In addition to his dramatic contributions Peter and his wife, Ellen, have opened three restaurants in Tucson.”

“Peter Van Slyke is one of the outstanding graduates of Sahuaro High School and rightly deserves inclusion in the Cougar Hall of Fame.”

Nominated by Bill Burgess, Hall of Fame 1994