On December 14, 2020, Peter Lee Kline, 84, formerly of
Silver Spring, Maryland and recently of Summerville,
South Carolina, died peacefully at home with his wife and
family by his side.
Peter was born on February 7, 1936, in Madison,
Wisconsin, to Susan and Lee Kline, and was the eldest of
three brothers. His family moved to Washington, DC six
months later, and he was reported at the time to be the
first baby to fly such a long distance.
Peter attended Woodrow Wilson High School and
graduated from Amherst College in 1957 with a B.A. in
Dramatic Arts, and Catholic University with an M.A. in
Speech and Drama. He became a theatrical impresario at
age 15 when he started The Lyric Theater Company of
Washington, DC, casting, rehearsing and performing in
the garage of his family’s Cleveland Park home. Lyric
Theater grew quickly and began offering performances in
the local theaters of the time. Lyric’s shows received
excellent reviews and a variety of articles written by
Richard Coe, late entertainment critic of the Washington
Post. Peter usually performed patter song roles while
producing and directing. Lyric also performed plays, and
in its day was the largest summer community theater
group in the area. In 1978, Peter co-founded the Victorian
Lyric Opera Company of Rockville, Maryland, directing
and performing with the troupe until 2006.
Peter’s professional life as an author and educator was
filled with innovation. He began his teaching career in
1958 at The Maret School, where he was head of the
English Department. He taught drama during the school
year, and at the Phillips Exeter Academy during the
summer. He joined the faculties of Sandy Spring Friends
School and Sidwell Friends School. He introduced
students to a deep understanding of the Shakespeare
plays in well crafted school productions.
Believing that all students can learn by helping them
discover their innate skills and intelligences, Peter was the
force behind the founding of The Interlocking Curriculum
School, later known as Thornton Friends School in Silver
Spring, Maryland. He eventually began training teachers
in his method of Integrative Learning, and taught in major
cities across the United States and around the world. He
also trained trainers in several major corporations in
companies that were seeking to increase effectiveness
and productivity while creating a positive culture.
Peter was the author of 16 books, including Gilbert
and Sullivan Production, Diary of a Play Production, The
Actor’s Voice, Physical Movement For The Theater, The
Everyday Genius, School Success: The Inside Story, Ten
Steps To A Learning Organization, The Genesis Principle,
and Why America’s Children Can’t Think. He co-wrote
The Butterly Dreams with his wife Syril.
Peter’s marriages to Barbara Gardner Eliot and Nancy
Kline Spence ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife
Syril Levin Kline, his three daughters from his first
marriage, Stephanie Brigham Desjardins (Douglas),
Maureen Kline, and Wendy Kline (Brigette Freeman),
brothers Michael Kline (Carrie) and T. Jefferson Kline (Nina
Douglass.) He is also survived by stepsons Seth A.
Lessans and Jonathan R. Lessans (Meghan), 12
grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Zoom service with be held on January 9, 2021, at
2:00 p.m. E.T. Those who wish to attend should contact
PeterKlineMemorial@outlook.com to receive an invitation.
An in-person Celebration of Life Service is being planned
for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made
to the Victorian Lyric Opera Company, online at
www.vloc.org, or via mail to P.O. Box 10391, Rockville,
MD 20849. These gifts will continue Peter's legacy of
fostering student participation in producing the works of Gilbert & Sullivan.