‘Alvin the Alligator’ creator retiring from Butler CC

By Caleb Sanderson | May 1, 2024

Courtesy photo Bob Peterson directs students in a production of “Harvey” before his retirement from Butler Community College last month.

El Dorado — Bob Peterson is retiring after 43 years teaching in the Butler Community College Theatre Department. Peterson exits following his last Butler play, “Harvey.”

Peterson’s career began in 1972 as a Topeka High School teacher. Award-winning actress Jayne Houdyshell, who won a Tony Award for her role in “The Humans,” was one of Peterson’s first students.

“I have been very proud of my students,” he said. “Many have worked in the industry and beyond — from working in the film industry to professional theatre to teachers to lawyers to being fine parents.”

He taught at Newman University and then moved to Butler in 1981. The first play he directed at Butler was “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and the first play he wrote and produced at Butler was called “First Boy.”
      “Alvin the Alligator,” a piece created by Peterson about a friendly alligator named Alvin, has become a generational favorite activity for local families. Many parents who attended the plays when they were younger now share that experience with their own children.

“I look at retirement as Act Three,” Peterson said. “I have several projects planned. I look forward to having the time to realize them.”