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Idaho Shakespeare Festival mourns death of its "mascot"

06:35 PM MDT on Friday, July 25, 2008

Alyson O�ten/KTVB

Friends remember Dan Peterson

BOISE -- The local theater community lost one of its own this week -- one of the co-founders of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival died of a heart attack at age 55.

Dan Peterson was not only a fixture on stage at the Shakespeare Festival -- he was one of its founders.

When the curtain first rose on this ambitious theater group in 1977, Dan, or Danny as he was better known - was right there performing in a Midsummer Night's Dream.

"This company flies as high as it does based on the depth of its roots and the fact that it goes back all 32 years to people who started here, in this case, Dan Peterson, is one of the reasons it's what it is today," said Mark Hofflund, managing director, Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

More than three decades later, Danny Peterson was still on stage about to star in Macbeth, which opens next week.

He was a familiar face and an audience favorite -- described by one of his colleagues as the Shakespeare Festival's “mascot.”

His sudden death has at age 55 devastated his colleagues and co-stars.

"There's that stupid adage that 'the show must go on' which I don't fully believe in," said actress Sara Bruner. "The best thing we can do is just honor him and remember him."

All week, flowers have been placed on a plaque just outside the theater -- a monument which bears Danny’s name as one of those responsible for the theaters creation.

Danny Peterson will be memorialized on Monday at 2 p.m. at the Central Assembly on Fairview Avenue.

That will be followed by a potluck at the Shakespeare Festival at 4:30 p.m.